HICKORY, N.C. — On a historic day for the program, the 13th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College baseball team earned a non-conference doubleheader sweep against visiting Spartanburg Methodist on Wednesday at Henkel-Alley Field.
The Red Hawks (32-11) won 9-5 and 4-3 in games one and two against the Pioneers, surpassing last season's win total (31) in the process.
Game one: No. 13 CVCC 9, Spartanburg Methodist 5
Capitalizing on eights hits and eight drawn walks, the Red Hawks defeating the Pioneers by four runs in the opening game of the set on Wednesday.
Catawba Valley scored at least one run in all, but one inning of the contest. Third baseman Graham Mitchell drove in three runs in the contest — two of which came on a double in the top of the first inning.
CVCC center fielder Cory Watt tied the team high with two hits, and he drove in two RBI, while catcher Brett Macchia also had two hits, including a double in the second inning.
Red Hawks starting pitcher Matthew Dailey allowed three runs (two earned), four hits and struck out four batters in his four-inning appearance on the mound.
Relievers Timothy Davila, Conner Hewell and Nic Messina closed out the final three innings of the contest, allowing a combined three hits and one walk.
Game two: No. 13 CVCC 4, Spartanburg Methodist 3
Graham Mitchell's walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning not only gave the Red Hawks their 32nd win of the season, but also set CVCC program history.
The RBI hit by Mitchell was the 87th of his Catawba Valley career, which surpasses the previous career record of 86 held by former Red Hawk catcher Randal Ortiz (2015-16).
"It's a special moment," Mitchell said of his hit — his second walk-off this season. "A lot of great guys came through here before me and set a bar really high for us. Just to be kind of known in the record books alongside those guys means a lot to me. They made a great legacy here, and I just hope guys in the future can keep it going."
Mitchell went 3-for-4 in the contest, including a two-run single in the bottom of the third inning that helped propel CVCC to a 3-0 lead through six complete innings. Cody Payne also had an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Pioneers rallied in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game, scoring two runs on a home run by John Phillip.
Donald Hansis' game-tying, two-out double made it a 3-3 game heading to the bottom of the seventh inning.
Catawba Valley's offense responded in the bottom half of the frame with back-to-back singles by Jimmy Marcelli and Garrison Burress to lead off the inning before Mitchell's RBI single through the hole between shortstop and third base plated the winning and historic run.
Marcelli went 3-for-3 in the contest, while Payne was 2-for-3 with two singles.
Red Hawks starting pitcher Thomas Walden allowed no runs, four hits, six walks and struck out two batters in his five-inning appearance. Greg Collins and Kevin Finzer finished out the final two innings on the mound, giving up a combined five hits and one walk.
The CVCC baseball team returns to action on Thursday for a single nine-inning game against Rockingham Community College at Henkel-Alley Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.