GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The No. 27 Catawba baseball team recorded a doubleheader sweep over South Atlantic Conference rival Tusculum Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.
The Catawba Indians rattled off 14 hits and received solid pitching in winning the first game 7-3. In the second contest, Chance Bowden went 3-for-3 with three RBI as the visitors won the night-cap 5-3.
Catawba (30-12, 16-5) completes the weekend sweep over the Pioneers (24-15, 13-8) as the Indians remain tied for first place atop the SAC standings with Lincoln Memorial, who swept Newberry this weekend in Harrogate.
Catawba records its first three-game sweep over Tusculum since 2011 and its first sweep at Pioneer Park ever.
Game 1: No. 27 Catawba 7, Tusculum 3
Catawba jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back in its 7-3 win over Tusculum in the first game of the twin-bill.
The Catawba Indians accounted for 14 hits, highlighted by Luke Setzer's 3-for-6 performance, including his 15th and 16th doubles of the season.
Catawba starting pitcher Hunter Shepherd and TC's Tim Hardy blanked the opposition through the first two innings.
In the top of the third, Jeremy Simpson reached on a fielding error and later scored on another TC miscue to take a 1-0 lead. Catawba added two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. In the fourth, Nick Coble and Bryce Fowler led off with back-to-back singles. Ben Bomberger drove both of them in with his seventh double of the year. In the fifth, Kyle Smith led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Coble's second hit of the game. Coble would touch the plate when Bomberger had a two-out single to drive in the game's fifth run.
Tusculum answered in the bottom of the frame, when Zack Finchum led off with a single and moved to second on an error. Bradley Evans cranked his sixth double of the year to drive in a pair for a 5-2 contest. Nick Lacina brought in Evans with his RBI groundout and a 5-3 score.
Catawba responded with a run in the sixth on a Simpson RBI single and one in the seventh thanks to a RBI double from Setzer.
Shepherd (6-0) remained undefeated on the season as he went six innings, allowed six hits, three runs, one earned, and posted two strikeouts. The Catawba pitching trio of Cody Fitch, Michael Elwell and Coble limited the Pioneers to a pair of singles and a walk over the final three innings.
Hardy (8-2) suffered the loss for the Pioneers, going five innings, allowing 11 hits, six runs, five earned, two walks and six strikeouts. TC reliever Andrew Willis pitched well for a second straight appearance as he tossed three shutout innings with a hit, one walk and two strikeouts.
Game 2: No. 27 Catawba 5, Tusculum 3
Chance Bowden went 3-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored in Catawba's 5-3 win in Saturday's second game.
Bryan Ketchie pitched effectively in his five-inning performance to improve to 6-1 on the season, while closer Bryan Blanton recorded his second save of the weekend and 12th of the year.
Tusculum jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Evans reached on a two-out double and scored on Lacina's RBI hit.
Catawba scored four unanswered runs with two in the second, one in the third and another in the fifth, all off of Tusculum starter Christian Raasch.
Cameron Morrison gave Catawba the lead with his two-out, two-run single for a 2-1 advantage for the visitors. Bowden drove in a run with his sacrifice fly out to deep center field and came through again with a two-out RBI double in the fifth.
Catawba scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Setzer led off with an infield single, stole second base and scored on Bowden's two-out single.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tusculum got the lead off runner aboard, but could not get him into scoring position as Blanton finished off the game with a foul out behind the plate and a 5-3 win for the Indians.
Smith went 2-for-4 for Catawba, while Morrison also had a two-hit game. Evans went 2-fo-3 for the Pioneers as Tusculum finished with eight hits in the game.
Tusculum starter Christian Raasch (2-5) suffered the loss as he went six innings, allowed five runs on eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
TC will be host Lee and Young Harris in mid-week action at Pioneer Park coming up. TC and Lee will square off at 6 p.m., while the Pioneers and Young Harris will play a 2 p.m. doubleheader.