LMU clinches series at Catawba

Published 1:20 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2018

SALISBURY, N.C. — The Lincoln Memorial University baseball team split Saturday’s doubleheader at league-leading Catawba (24-20, 17-7 SAC) but took two of three overall to win its first-ever series at the Indians. The Railsplitters (27-18, 12-12 SAC) homered 11 times on the day and came back from a three-run deficit in the final frame of both games. LMU overcame a 5-0 deficit in game one to win 9-8 in 10 innings and fell 13-12 in the nightcap after Catawba hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh.

The Railsplitters finish the year 8-10 on the road and will finish the regular season with four games at Lamar Hennon Field beginning Wednesday afternoon against King. LMU will then host Mars Hill over the weekend in a crucial series for determining seeding for the South Atlantic Conference Tournament.

Game One: Lincoln Memorial 9, Catawba 8 (10 innings)

Sparked by a pair of Hunt home runs, the Railsplitters scored three runs to tie the game at six in the ninth and added three more in the 10thto eventually beat the Indians 9-8 in extra innings. Hunt finished the game 4-for-6 with a two-run homer in the ninth and three-run shot in the tenth to record a career-high five RBI.

Reddick and Salvey each had two hits and homered. Reddick’s two-run blast put the Railsplitters on the board in the fifth inning, and Salvey tied the score with a solo shot in the ninth. Railsplitter batters struck out 15 times.

Catawba outhit the Railsplitters 13-11. Six of the Indians’ hits went for extra bases, including five doubles. Heath Mitchem finished 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Luke Setzer and Jacob Nester each notched two hits and drove in a run. Jason Curtis entered the game late as a defensive replacement and finished 2-for-2 with a double and two-run homer. Kyle Smith walked three times and scored three runs.

The Indians scored three runs in the first and jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings. The first four were charged to Joe Bobiak, who lasted 2.2 innings in a no-decision. Chance Bowden opened the scoring with an RBI double. Setzer followed with an RBI single two batters later, and Nester later plated a run on a sac fly. Joe Butts singled in the team’s fourth run in the bottom of the third.

Mitchem doubled in a run in the fourth to put the Indians up 5-0.

Reddick’s two-run shot in the fifth gave LMU its first runs of the game. Nate Stinson later added an RBI single in the frame. The three runs were the only ones charged to Michael Elwell in his 4.1 innings of work.

Mitchem drove in another run in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single.

Hunt’s two-run shot in the ninth cut the score to 6-5 and forced a Catawba pitching change. Hunter Shepherd came in and recorded back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts of Reddick and Adams before Salvey launched a no-doubter to left center to tie the game.

Matt Mullenbach worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the ninth by getting Butts to ground out. He became the winning pitcher and improved to 5-2 after Hunt’s three-run shot in the top of the 10thput the Railsplitters ahead 9-6.

Curtis homer with two outs in the bottom of the 10thbrought the Indians back to within a run, but Mullenbach got Smith to ground out to end the game. Shepherd took the loss to fall to 3-2.

Game Two: Catawba 13, Lincoln Memorial 12

Lincoln Memorial tied a program record with seven home runs and made another three-run comeback in the final frame, but Jackson Raper walked off the Railsplitters in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI double to salvage a game in the series for Catawba.

Catawba out hit the Railsplitters 15-13. Ten of each team’s hits went for extra bases.

Reddick and Salvey each homered twice for LMU. Tyler Adams, Muta Crusoe and Mason Ewers also went deep.

Catawba scored in all but one inning. Raper finished 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles and tallied five RBI. Smith went 4-for-5 with three doubles while Mitchem, Setzer and Butts each were 2-for-4. Smith, Mitchem and Setzer all scored three times while Mitchem, Butts and Nester recorded two RBI apiece.

The Railsplitters continued right where they left off in game one, as Reddick hit a first-inning solo shot. Salvey later singled in the team’s second run.

Mullenbach continued pitching to start game two but allowed three runs and couldn’t make it out of the first inning before departing. Butts drove in the first run with an RBI single, and Nester followed with a two-run single to end Mullenbach’s short outing.

The Indians scored three more runs in the second to take a 6-2 lead. Mitchem doubled in the first two, and Raper plated a run with another two-bagger.

Reddick, Adams and Salvey went back-to-back-to-back in the third inning—all solo shots—to bring the Railsplitters back to within a run at 6-5. The first two were charged to Catawba starter Connor Johnson, who allowed four runs in two-plus innings.

The Indians got a run back in the bottom of the third on a Smith RBI single.

An RBI double by Reddick followed by an Adams RBI single tied the game at seven apiece in the fourth inning. Salvey then broke that brief tie with a two-run homer.

Lincoln Memorial’s lead did not last long, as Raper launched a three-run homer in the bottom half of the fourth to give the Indians a 10-9 advantage.

RBIs on a Butts single and DJ Laxton double in the sixth gave the Indians a pair of insurance runs heading into the top of the seventh.

Catawba again could not hold a three-run lead in the final frame, as Crusoe’s two-run blast and Ewers’ solo shot tied the game 12.

Raper capped his big game with a two-out double over the head of Crusoe to walk off Lincoln Memorial in the bottom of the seventh. Greg Brown was the winning pitcher and improved to 1-0 while Evan Porter was the losing pitcher and fell to 0-2.