Pitching dominant again; Red Hawks split with Rams

Pitching dominant again; Red Hawks split with Rams

HICKORY, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College baseball team once again received dominant performances from its starting pitchers in a doubleheader split Saturday afternoon against visiting Southeastern Community College at Henkel-Alley Field at the Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds.

The Red Hawks improve to 24-14 overall and 10-6 in Region X games this season.

Game one: Southeastern 4, Catawba Valley 3 (nine innings)

Despite a record-tying performance by CVCC starting pitcher Blake Dockery, the Rams capitalized on three unearned runs and a bases-loaded walk to win the opening game of the series on Saturday.

The Red Hawks took control of Saturday's opener in the fourth inning, scoring three runs to take a 3-0 lead. CVCC designated hitter Sabion Thomas led the charge with a two-run double in the inning, while first baseman Tyler Campbell added an RBI single.

Dockery held Southeastern batters at bay, recording eight strikeouts through his first four innings of work on Saturday. He finished game one with 14 strikeouts — tying his own school record, which was set on March 2.

Despite their early struggles, the Rams would break through in the seventh inning, scoring three unearned runs on an error and a wild pitch by Dockery to tie the contest at 3-3.

Loading the bases in the top of the eighth inning, a walk by Southeastern second baseman Drew Loving allowed catcher Riley Cameron to score the eventual game-winning run in the contest.

The Red Hawks would attempt to fight back, but could only get one runner on base during the final two innings, allowing the Rams to pick up the conference victory.

Southeastern starting pitcher J.J. Oxendine went the distance to pick up his fourth win of the season. He allowed seven hits, three earned runs, one walk and struck out seven Red Hawk batters to improve to 4-3 on the season.

Game two: Catawba Valley 4, Southeastern 2 (seven innings)

Despite only recording two hits at the plate, the Red Hawks rallied with three runs in the final two innings to earn the split in Saturday's doubleheader against the Rams.

CVCC quickly took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when designated hitter Sabion Thomas drove in second baseman R.J. Conner on an RBI single.

Southeastern responded in the top of the third inning, gaining the lead for the first time by scoring two unearned runs on a Red Hawk error.

Catawba Valley starting pitcher Logan Bender helped keep his team in the game, limiting Rams hitters to six hits and one walk in six innings on the mound. Bender also recorded 10 strikeouts — the fourth time this season he's tallied 10 or more strikeouts in an outing.

Down 2-1 in the fifth inning, center fielder Rod Munoz helped provide a late spark for CVCC, drawing a leadoff walk before scoring on back-to-back errors by Southeastern to tie the game at 2-2.

Four batters later, Thomas plated the go-ahead run for the Red Hawks  on a sacrifice fly that scored Conner from third base.

CVCC third baseman Grant Tilley helped his team add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning after he walked and took three-straight bases on wild pitches.

Timothy Davila relieved Bender in the seventh inning, closing out the victory with three-straight strikeouts to earn his first save of the 2019 season. Bender improves to 6-0 with the victory.

The Red Hawks and Rams conclude their three-game conference set on Sunday with a single nine-inning game at Henkel-Alley Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.