Russ, Red Hawks power past Lancers on road, 12-6

Russ, Red Hawks power past Lancers on road, 12-6

LANCASTER, S.C. — Behind the power hitting of first baseman Kyran Russ, the 17th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College baseball team picked up a 12-6 non-conference victory on the road Thursday afternoon against USC Lancaster in a game held at Lancaster High School.

Russ hit two home runs in Thursday's contest and drove in a team-high five RBI, leading the Red Hawks to their 25th win of the season.

Catawba Valley (25-9) quickly gained control of Thursday's game, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning, including a three-run home run by Russ. CVCC third baseman Graham Mitchell also drove in a run in the inning on an RBI double.

The Lancers answered Russ' power surge by hitting four home runs of their own in the contest, including two off the bat of Jared Firmstone and one each from Walker McDowell and Chase Coker.

Firmstone's two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning pulled USC Lancaster within 4-2 of Catawba Valley.

However, the Red Hawks answered with four runs in the top of the second inning, including a two-run single by Blake Jeter, an RBI double by Garrison Burress and an RBI single from Mitchell.

After McDowell's solo home run in the bottom of the third inning cut the Lancers' deficit to 8-3, Russ connected on a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning — his team-leading eighth blast of the season.

USC Lancaster scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning — both home runs from Coker (solo) and Firmstone (two-run) — to rally within 9-6.

Despite that effort, three runs would be as close as the Lancers would get in the game's closing stages. Catawba Valley added three more runs, including an RBI double from Cory Watt in the seventh inning and a bases loaded walk by Russ in the eighth inning, to seal their victory.

On the mound, CVCC starting pitcher Thomas Walden gave his team a solid start to pick up his fourth win of the season. He allowed four hits, three earned runs, two walks and struck out two batters in four innings of work.

Red Hawk relief pitchers Madisyn Bolin, Hunter Isaacs, Greg Collins, Chris Banks and Timothy Davila finished off the game by tossing one inning apiece. The pitching quintet gave up just five hits, three earned runs, no walks and stuck out four batters in those five innings of work.

The CVCC baseball team quickly turns its attention to another set of Lancers — this time from Lenoir Community College (18-6, 6-5) — for the first of three weekend conference games on Saturday.

The Red Hawks and Lancers play a nine-inning contest at 1 p.m. Saturday followed by a seven-inning contest, and the two teams finish their three-game set with one final nine-inning game on Sunday starting at noon. All three games take place at Henkel-Alley Field at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds, and admission for all three games is free.