Red Hawks' rally falls short vs. Rams in first round

Red Hawks' rally falls short vs. Rams in first round

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Despite a last-inning, last-out rally, the fourth-seeded Catawba Valley Community College baseball team fell 6-4 in 11 innings to fifth-seeded Southeastern Community College during the first round of the Region 10/Southeast District tournament on Friday at the Minges-Overton Complex.

CVCC starting pitcher Logan Bender had yet another stellar outing during Friday's opener. The sophomore from Dunn, N.C. and reigning Region 10 Pitcher of the Year collected 12 more strikeouts during his seven-inning appearance on the mound.

Despite Bender's performance, the Rams (26-23) were able to gain a 2-0 lead through seven innings, scoring one unearned run in the fourth on two walks, an error and a fielder's choice, and they added a seventh-inning RBI sac fly by shortstop A.J. Brooks for their second run.

Catawba Valley's offense struggled on Friday, popping out 10 times, striking out 13 times and stranding 10 runners on base, including two runners in the third inning and the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

Southeastern appeared poised for a nine-inning tournament victory, adding two insurance runs to its lead in the top of the ninth inning when second baseman Daly Marcano scored on a passed ball and designated hitter Zach Adams drew a bases-loaded walk.

Down to their final out with a four-run deficit, the Red Hawks scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extras. Center fielder Rod Munoz ignited the offensive spark with a two-out, two-RBI double to left field, which scored third basemen Grant Tilley and right fielder Trent Jones.

Red Hawks second baseman R.J. Conner followed Munoz's clutch hit with one of his own — a two-run home run to left field — to tie the contest at 4-4 through nine complete. The home run by Conner is his team-tying fifth blast of the season.

CVCC appeared to be in the driver's seat for a come-from-behind win, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, but two forced pop outs and a strikeout by the Rams ended any potential scoring threat.

Southeastern seized momentum from the previous inning, scoring two runs in the top of the 11th, including an RBI single by Adams and an RBI sac fly by center fielder Chase Orrock, for the eventual game-winning runs.

The Red Hawks (32-20) will attempt to bounce back in tournament consolation action when they face eighth-seeded Guilford Tech (17-6) on Saturday at 9 a.m.