Red Hawks complete series sweep over Bantams

Red Hawks complete series sweep over Bantams

HICKORY, N.C. — After winning game of the series on Friday, the Catawba Valley Community College baseball team completed a three-game sweep of visiting USC Union at Henkel-Alley Field on Saturday.

The Red Hawks (10-2) used timely hitting to win in walk-off fashion in the ninth inning of game one against the Bantams (1-6) before hitting four home runs in a seven-run victory in game two.

Game one: Catawba Valley 3, USC Union 2

Graham Mitchell hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring Jimmy Marcelli to win on a walk-off in the first game between the Red Hawks and Bantams on Saturday.

The Bantams gained control early in Saturday's first game with a solo home run by Dalton Johnson on the first pitch of the contest.

Catawba Valley answered two innings later when a double by Marcelli scored Cory Watt in the bottom of the third.

USC Union looked to be on the verge of victory after an RBI single from Buddy Bleasdale in the fifth inning plated Gabe Hall.

However, Cory Watt's leadoff home run on a 3-2 count in bottom of the seventh inning prevented a loss for the Red Hawks and sent the game into extra innings.

In the final half-inning of the game, Watt was hit by a pitch and Marcelli singled to start the bottom of the ninth. Mitchell followed that with a single that went over the head of left fielder Wa'Dezmond Good to score the game-winning run.

Catawba Valley starting pitcher Julian Smith was impressive in his third start of the season, allowing six hits, two walks, two earned runs and striking out a season-high 12 Bantam batters. Nic Messina earned his first win of the season in relief, allowing one walk and striking out three batters.

Game two: Catawba Valley 10, USC Union 3

Powered by 13 hits, including four home runs, the Red Hawks powered their way past the Bantams in the two team's series finale on Saturday afternoon.

Kyran Russ led the offensive for Catawba Valley, driving in four RBI on two hits, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. Willie Gordon, Grant Tilley and Rod Munoz also hit home runs in the victory for the Red Hawks.

CVCC starting pitcher Trae Starnes allowed eight hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and struck out four to earn his first win of the season.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Red Hawks answered with three runs in the second, five in the third and one in the fourth inning to gain control for good in the contest.

Gordon and Russ connected on back-to-back home runs in the third inning, while Tilley's solo blast came in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The CVCC baseball team returns to action on Wednesday for a midweek doubleheader on the road against Spartanburg Methodist. Game time has yet to be determined.