by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College Bulldogs attempted to erase a 10-0 deficit by scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against Catawba College. The Indians would hold-off the Bulldogs for a 10-5 victory on Tuesday at Nixon Field in non-conference action.
Barton (9-25) tallied five of its nine hits in the seventh inning and would get run-scoring hits from redshirt sophomore Lane Olive, sophomore Noah Almond, senior Rich Trifaro, and freshman Hunter Little. Catawba (17-16) was fueled by a six-run top of the fourth inning that was highlighted by a triple from Kyle Smith, which plated three runs for the Indians.
Little finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate for the Bulldogs, while seven over Barton batters notched one hit each in the contest. Freshman Colby Warren tallied the first hit of the game for BC with a double in the second inning, while freshman Garrett Giddens and Mason Cooper each recorded a hit.
Smith finished the day 1-for-5 at the plate with a run scored to go along with his triple and three runs batted in. Chance Bowden recorded a two-run home run for the Indians while working three walks and tallying a pair of hits. Jackson Raper went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI.
The Indians would strike first in the contest as Lee Poteat reached on a fielder's choice to the shortstop in the top of the second inning. Raper would score from third on the play to give Catawba a 1-0 lead against junior reliever Ryan Pifer and the Bulldogs. Catawba increased its lead to 2-0 in the frame off a wild pitch as Jacob Nester scored from third.
A bases-loaded walk with one out in the top of the fourth inning would stretch the Indians lead to 3-0 and be followed by a bases-clearing triple from Smith to make it 6-0. Catawba added a pair of more runs in the frame to up its lead to 8-0 before Barton sophomore reliever Landry Moore would enter and record the final out of the inning.
Following a two-run home run off the bat of Bowden in the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs would get to work offensively. Sophomore Chase Riker started the frame with a single against Catawba starter Bryan Ketchie. BC would have a pair of runners on base for Olive, who delivered a single to get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. Almond would trim the gap to 10-2 with a single of his own to plate Warren.
The offensive spark for BC would lead to Catawba making a call to their bullpen as Sawyer Strickland would take over for Ketchie on the mound. The Bulldogs greeted Strickland into the game with another run-scoring hit as Trifaro plated Olive on the play and would add another run as Giddens plated a run with an RBI groundout to second. Little cut the gap to 10-5 with a single to score Trifaro and chase Strickland from the game. Hunter Shepherd entered the game for Catawba and would record the next two outs to get the Indians out of the inning.
Barton looked to rally in the bottom of the ninth inning as Giddens and Little delivered a pair of singles against Shepherd with two outs. Shepherd would get Cooper to groundout to second for the final out and secure the 10-5 victory for the Indians.
Pifer (0-2) was handed with the loss for BC after allowing a pair of runs to score in the second inning. Moore, Warren, freshman Austin Lee, and junior Chase Long each tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Bulldogs. Ketchie (1-1) allowed four runs over six innings for the Indians while scattering five hits and fanning five batters. Shepherd tossed the final 2.2 innings for Catawba, yielding just two hits and fanning three batters.
Barton hits the road for a Conference Carolinas matchup this weekend against Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C. The Bulldogs and Warriors are scheduled to play a pair of games on Friday beginning at 2 p.m.