by Doug Page
SALISBURY, N.C. – An early 9-3 lead followed by a 10-6 advantage wouldn't be enough for the Barton College Bulldogs on Tuesday night as BC saw Catawba College plate 10 runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to record a 16-10 win in a non-conference baseball matchup.
Barton (12-33) held a 10-5 lead following the top of the fifth inning but saw the Indians score 11 unanswered runs to complete the comeback in front of their home crowd. The Bulldogs hit five home runs in the contest, including three in the top of the first inning. Catawba (25-20) defeated the Bulldogs for the second time this season after getting a go-ahead double from Jackson Raper in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Four Bulldogs tallied a pair of hits in the contest as junior Gatlin Pate and freshman Colby Warren connected on two home runs each for Barton. Pate finished the game with a career-high five runs batted in, including a three-run home run in the top of the first inning. Warren tallied his team-leading ninth and 10th home runs of the season as the Roanoke Rapids, N.C. native now sits tied for sixth in the league. Junior Troy Maslowski and freshman Hunter Little also recorded a pair of hits for Barton, while Maslowski delivered the other home run for BC.
Chance Bowden finished the game with four hits and a pair of home runs for Catawba, including three runs scored and four RBI. Luke Setzer went 2-for-5 at the plate with one run scored and three RBI, while Raper and Kyle Smith plated a pair of runs for the Indians. Four Catawba pitchers combined to allow just two hits and hold the Bulldogs off the scoreboard over the final four innings of the contest.
The Bulldogs spotted freshman starter Mason Cooper an early 3-0 lead as Pate delivered his first long-ball of the game to left field against Catawba starter Ryan Kahny. BC would complete the back-to-back-to-back trifecta in the frame as Maslowski and Warren each drove pitches over the wall in left field to extend the Barton lead to 5-0. The Indians countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame as Bowden hit a solo home run to get Catawba on the board. Raper would trim the deficit to 5-2 with an RBI-groundout as Heath Mitchum scored from third.
Pate continued his strong start to the game by delivering a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to give the Bulldogs a 7-2 advantage. Two batters later, Warren added his second homer of the night to extend the lead to 9-2. Cooper would allow a run to score for the Indians in the bottom of the second but hold Catawba scoreless in the third frame. BC would opt for a pitching change in the bottom of the fourth inning after a balk with the bases loaded scored a run for the Indians.
Catawba trimmed the deficit to 9-5 in the frame before freshman Clay Walters would get the Bulldogs out of trouble and avoid any further damage. BC regained a five-run advantage in the top of the fifth inning as Little singled to right field to score sophomore Noah Almond. Bowden delivered an RBI-single up the middle for Catawba in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it a 10-6 contest.
Both teams went scoreless in the seventh inning before Catawba changed the outlook of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Setzer delivered a bases-clearing double down the left field line that would knot the score 10-10. After taking its first lead of the night, Catawba extended its lead to 12-10 following a pair of errors by the Bulldogs. Bowden capped the scoring in the frame for the Indians with his second home run of the night as his two-run shot gave Catawba a 16-10 advantage. The six-run cushion would be plenty for Catawba reliever Hunter Shepard, who worked around a lead-off single from sophomore Chase Riker to close the game for the Indians.
Barton hosts North Greenville University for its final three games of the season beginning with a doubleheader against the Crusaders on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Both games on Friday will be played at Fleming Stadium in Wilson. The series will conclude with a single game on Saturday at 12 p.m. as BC will honor seniors Trent Fennell and Rich Trifaro prior to first pitch.