GREENVILLE, N.C. – A late rally fell short for Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) on Friday in the opening round of the Region X/Southeast District baseball tournament.
Fifth-seeded Southeastern Community College nipped the fourth-seeded Red Hawks 6-4 in 11 innings at the Minges-Overton Complex.
CVCC (32-20) must beat No. 8 Guilford Tech (17-6) in a 9 a.m. game on Saturday to stay alive in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) event.
CVCC starting pitcher Logan Bender, a sophomore from Dunn, went seven innings and struck out 12.
The Rams (26-23) gained 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 sacrifice fly by shortstop A.J. Brooks for their second run.
CVCC struggled with 10 pop-up outs, 13 strikeouts and by leaving 10 runners on base, including two in the third inning and the bases full in the fourth inning.
Southeastern appeared poised for a nine-inning, adding two insurance runs 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 extra innings.
Center fielder Rod Munoz ignited the offensive spark with a two-out, two-RBI double to left field that scored third basemen Grant Tilley and right fielder Trent Jones.
Red Hawks second baseman R.J. Conner followed Munoz’s clutch hit with a two-run home run to left field for a 4-all tie. It was Conner’s fifth home run of the season.
CVCC loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, but two forced pop outs and a strikeout ended any potential scoring threat.
Southeastern then scored two runs in the top of the 11th, including an RBI single by Adams and an RBI sacrifice fly by center fielder Chase Orrock for the eventual game-winning runs.
— Reported by CVCC Sports Information