Red Hawks sweep doubleheader, win streak now at 6

Red Hawks sweep doubleheader, win streak now at 6

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Behind overwhelming offense and dominant pitching, the Catawba Valley Community College baseball team earned a conference doubleheader sweep against host Bryant & Stratton on Saturday afternoon at Trant Field.

With the victories, the Red Hawks improve to 16-8 overall and 6-4 in Region X games this spring.

Game one: Catawba Valley 8, Bryant & Stratton 0 (seven innings)

Starting pitcher Blake Dockery tossed his second-straight one-hitter and second basemen R.J. Conner drove in three runs, leading the Red Hawks to a run-rule victory in the opening game of the series.

CVCC took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, capitalizing on a leadoff walk by Conner, who stole second base, advanced to third base on a fly out by left fielder Jackson Brown and scored on a sac fly by first baseman Tyler Campbell.

Conner scored for the second time in as many plate appearances during the third inning, once again drawing a walk and stealing second base. Conner advanced to third base on a wild pitch before scoring on an error at first base to make it a 2-0 lead for the Red Hawks.

Catawba Valley padded its lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning, scoring a pair of runs. Center fielder Malik Stephens drove in right fielder Trent Jones on an RBI single to right center field, and Conner plated designated hitter Sabion Thomas on an RBI fielder's choice to make it a four-run game.

The Red Hawks broke open the game during the sixth inning, scoring four runs, including a two-RBI triple by Conner and an RBI sac fly by Brown.

Conner finished the game 1-for-2 at the plate with three runs scored, two walks and three stolen bases to go with this three-RBI day.

On the mound, Dockery held Bobcat batters at bay, tossing seven shutout innings, allowing two walks and striking out seven batters during his one-hit performance on the mound to pick up his third victory of the season.

Game two: Catawba Valley 16, Bryant & Stratton 2 (five innings)

The Red Hawks scored a season-high 16 runs and received a 13-strikeout performance on the mound from starting pitcher Logan Bender, securing their doubleheader sweep of the Bobcats on Saturday.

For the second-straight game, CVCC gained quick control of the lead, scoring in the top of the first inning on an RBI single to left field by Campbell, who plated Conner.

Bryant & Stratton fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Robert Olah, but the deadlock between the two teams would be short-lived.

Catawba Valley scored three runs in the top of the second inning, including an RBI double by shortstop Mason Lyda and a two-run home run by Conner — his second of the season — to make it a 4-1 lead for the away team.

The Red Hawks exploded in the top of the fourth inning, scoring 11 runs on four hits, six drawn walks and one Bobcat error. The biggest hit of the inning was a two-run home run by Stephens — his first collegiate homer.

Brown added a two-run double to left field, Jones drove in a run on a bloop single to shallow right field and the quartet of Willie Gordon, Conner, Stephens and Lyda all plated one run each with bases-loaded walks.

The Bobcats (9-18, 2-9 in Region X) tried to rally late after outfielder Marvin Pryor singled and later scored on a passed ball.

However, Bender closed the door in the fifth inning, recording all three of hits outs via strikeout in the final stanza to end the game in run-rule fashion.

Bender recorded his team-leading fourth win of the season, allowing just four hits, no walks and two unearned runs to go with his season-high 13 strikeouts.

The Red Hawks and Bobcats finish their three-game set on Sunday with a single nine-inning game. First pitch is set for noon at Trant Field.