Pitching shines for Red Hawks in Saturday split

Pitching shines for Red Hawks in Saturday split

NEWTON, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College baseball team split its home conference doubleheader with rival Pitt on Saturday afternoon at Henkel-Alley Field at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds.

The Red Hawks improve to 6-6 overall and 2-2 in Region X play, while the Bulldogs are now 6-3-1 overall and 1-1 in conference games.

Game one: Pitt 2, Catawba Valley 1

Despite a dominant pitching performance from freshman Blake Dockery, the Red Hawks fell just short in a one-run loss in the opening game of the twin bill on Saturday.

Dockery tied a school record with a 14-strikeout performance in just six innings. He allowed only three hits, two walks and one earned run — a solo home run by Pitt left fielder Austin LaFollette in the fourth inning, which opened the game's scoring.

CVCC tied the game in the fifth inning when shortstop Garrison Burress scored from third base on a wild pitch.

After center fielder Josh Netterville led the eighth inning off with a triple, the Bulldogs gained the lead for good after Mikey Polansky drove in Netterville on a sac fly.

The Red Hawks managed to get the tying run to second base during the ninth inning, but a fly out by Burress to center field ended the game.

Game two: Catawba Valley 3, Pitt 1

Behind timely hitting and a stout pitching performance on the mound from redshirt sophomore Logan Bender, the Red Hawks earned a two-run victory against the Bulldogs in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader.

Bender allowed just three hits, one unearned run, two walks and struck out eight batters to earn his second victory of the season.

Pitt quickly took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI single by Chandler Blackwelder, which plated Josh Netterville.

However, CVCC answered in the bottom of the first inning, tying the game on an RBI ground out by Tyler Campbell, who scored teammate R.J. Conner.

The Red Hawks scored the eventual game-winning runs in the bottom of the third inning, including Conner's first collegiate home run and an infield RBI single by freshman catcher Cole Chapman.

After Bender exited in the top of the sixth inning, Red Hawks receiver Nic Messina closed out the final two innings of the contest, allowing no hits, no runs, no walks and striking out four batters to earn his second save of 2019.

The Red Hawks and Bulldogs finish their three-game set on Sunday with a single nine-inning game. First pitch has been moved up from noon to 11 a.m. due to the threat of inclement weather.