Red Hawks split Saturday doubleheader with Rams

Red Hawks split Saturday doubleheader with Rams

WHITEVILLE, N.C. — The 13th-ranked Catawba Valley Community College baseball team split its Saturday conference doubleheader on the road with host Southeastern Community College.

The Red Hawks (34-12, 13-5 in Region X) held on for a 12-10 victory in game one of the series before falling 9-4 to the Rams (14-19-1, 7-9 in Region X) in the second game on Saturday.

Game one: No. 13 Catawba Valley 12, Southeastern 10

Behind a grand slam from outfielder Rod Munoz, the Red Hawks held off the Rams for a two-run win in the opening game of the series on Saturday.

Catawba Valley grabbed a 9-1 lead through three innings of the opening contest, scoring five runs in the second inning and four in the third inning.

Brett Macchia's two-run single in the second inning opened the scoring for the Red Hawks, who also scored runs during the inning on a balk, passed ball and a stolen home plate by left fielder Cody Payne.

Munoz connected on his grand slam in the third inning — his fourth home run of the season. It was the second-straight game that a Red Hawk player had hit a grand slam after Kyran Russ connected on one during Thursday's game against Rockingham.

The Rams capitalized on 11 hits and four CVCC errors to pull within 11-10 through six complete innings. Southeastern scored one run in the first, third and fifth innings, two runs in the sixth inning and five runs in the fourth.

David Stowers paced the Rams with three hits, while Gage Hammonds drove in two runs for Southeastern.

Catawba Valley added a late insurance run on an RBI sac fly from Payne, and relief pitcher Nic Messina closed the door on a potential Rams rally in the ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.

On the mound, CVCC starting pitcher Julian Smith recorded his 100th strikeout of the season and also surpassed Cole Whitney for the most strikeouts in a season by any Red Hawk pitcher. Whitney tallied 101 punch outs last spring, and Smith now stands at 106 strikeouts and counting.

Smith went four innings in Saturday's game one, giving up eight hits, seven runs (three earned) and three walks to go with his seven strikeouts.

Hunter Isaacs relieved Smith in the fourth inning and gave up one hit, three runs (none earned), three walks and struck out one batter to earn his third win of the season.

Thomas Walden relieved Isaacs in the seventh inning before giving way to Messina, who gave up one run, two walks and striking out three batters in two innings.

Game two: Southeastern 9, No. 13 Catawba Valley 4

Despite a late rally by the Red Hawks, the Rams held on for the five-run conference victory in the second game of the twin bill on Saturday.

Southeastern pulled out to a quick 6-0 lead in the contest, scoring three runs in each of the first and second innings, including an RBI single by Luke Orr and a two-run double by Gage Hammonds.

Rams starting pitcher Cody Freeman held the Red Hawk bats at bay for a majority of the game, giving up just four hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and striking out 10 batters.

Catawba Valley broke on to the scoreboard in the fourth inning when shortstop Garrison Burress singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

First baseman Tyler Campbell's towering three-run home run to center field in the top of the sixth inning pulled CVCC within 6-4 of Southeastern, igniting a potential rally.

However, the Rams scored three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, including RBI singles by David Stowers and J.J. Oxendine and an RBI double by Hammonds, to seal its win.

Harry Hatcher suffered the loss on the mound for the Red Hawks. He gave up 11 hits, six runs (three earned), two walks and struck out seven batters.

The Red Hawks and Rams finish their series on Sunday with a single nine-inning game. First pitch is schedule for noon in Whiteville, N.C.