Clutch hits by Brown, Healy lift CVCC to 9-8 victory

Clutch hits by Brown, Healy lift CVCC to 9-8 victory

LOUISBURG, N.C. — Like a title fight between two heavyweight boxers, the Catawba Valley Community College baseball team and host Louisburg traded blow for blow offensively during Tuesday afternoon's non-conference tilt at Frazier Field.

When the dust settled, it was the Red Hawks who used a pair of clutch RBI hits in the eighth inning by left fielder Jackson Brown and pinch hitter Ryan Healy to come away with a 9-8 victory against the Hurricanes.

CVCC improves to 26-16 overall on the season with the win — its ninth this season against a NJCAA Division I program.

Both teams came out of the gates swinging on Tuesday, scoring four runs each during the first inning.

The Red Hawks opened the game's scoring in the opening stanza with an RBI single by first baseman Tyler Campbell and an RBI double from third baseman Grant Tilley. Two more CVCC runs were also plated on Hurricane errors.

Louisburg (19-17) answered back to tie the game with four runs of their own in the first inning — two off the bat of Charles Lee and one on an RBI single by Drew Camp.

The tie between the two squads would remain until the eighth inning when a pair of CVCC singles by Campbell and catcher Willie Gordon set up a pinch hit infield single by Healy that scored the go-ahead run.

Catawba Valley second baseman R.J. Conner followed up Healy's clutch at bat with a drawn walk, setting the stage for Brown's bases-clearing double to left center fielder to give the Red Hawks a 8-4 advantage.

The Hurricanes would once again answer in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring three runs to pull within 8-7 of the lead. Joshua Pittman led the late charge for Louisburg with an RBI double, while Phillip Boykin added an RBI single.

Padding its advantage late, Gordon added an insurance run to CVCC's lead in the top of the ninth inning, singling to bring home Campbell.

Louisburg attempted to pull the come-from-behind win in the bottom of the ninth inning. Right fielder Justin Oakley cut the Hurricanes' deficit to one run with a leadoff solo home run to left field.

The next Hurricane batter — Darius Nobles — drew a walk, but Red Hawk relief pitcher Storm Mace was able to force  three-straight Louisburg outs to end the game — snapping Louisburg's seven-game winning streak.

Mace recorded his first save of the season, and CVCC sophomore pitcher Nic Messina earned his second victory of the spring on the mound.

The CVCC baseball team returns to action on Friday afternoon when it plays a conference doubleheader against Region X leader Brunswick at 1 p.m.

The two teams will play one nine-inning and one seven-inning contest on Friday before completing the three-game set on Saturday with a single nine-inning game scheduled for noon.