Smith, Burress lead Red Hawks past Titans, 5-1

Smith, Burress lead Red Hawks past Titans, 5-1

JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Behind the performances of pitcher Julian Smith and shortstop Garrison Burress, the Catawba Valley Community College baseball team completed a three-game series sweep of Guilford Tech with a 5-1 win on Saturday at Ronnie Smith Stadium on the campus of Ragsdale High School.

The win for the Red Hawks, which is their sixth in a row, improves their record to 24-9 overall on the season and 8-3 in Region X play.

The first of two home runs in the game for Burress — a solo shot to left field in the first inning — gave Catawba Valley an early 1-0 lead.

CVCC extended its lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Cory Watt singled to center field and later scored on a wild pitch.

The Red Hawks added two more runs to their lead in the fifth inning on an RBI ground out by Jimmy Marcelli and Burress' second home run of the game and fifth of the season to center field.

Watt expanded Catawba Valley's lead to 5-0 in the seventh inning, recording an RBI double that scored teammate Rod Munoz.

With his team firmly in the lead, Smith kept Guilford Tech batters off balance by recording 15 first-pitch strikes during his seven innings of work.

Smith, who earned his team-leading fifth win of the season on the mound, allowed just one hit, two walks and struck out a season-high 14 batters.

CVCC closer Kevin Finzer relieved Smith in the eighth inning, striking out four of the eight batters he faced.

The Titans (2-23, 0-12 in Region X) managed to break up the shut out bid in the ninth inning, scoring a run on an error in right field after a single from Jesse Lowery.

However, Finzer was able snuff out the Titan rally, recoding the final out — a fly out to left field by Pete Vurnakes — to end the game.

The CVCC baseball team returns to action on Monday for an exhibition against the Class-A Hickory Crawdads at the newly renovated L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, N.C. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and admission is free.