Columbus State bounces back to beat Catawba

FROM STAFF REPORTSMay 17, 2014 

GREENWOOD, S.C. — Columbus State scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to remain alive in the NCAA Southeast Regional with a 6-5 victory over Catawba on Saturday night.

Catawba scored a run in the top of the 10th inning to take a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the 10th, Blaine Miller drew a one-out walk and Carson Bowers singled. After another out, Brendan Collins hit a grounder to the shortstop, which took a big hop over his head, which allowed Miller to score the tying run. The center fielder misplayed the ball, which allowed Bowers to score the game-winner.

CSU lost to Lander 9-3 earlier in the day.

Catawba’s Keaton Hawks led off the 10th with a single. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt, then to third on a wild pitch.

T.J. Wharton hit a high chopper to pitcher Trey Watson, who couldn’t get the throw to Miller, the catcher, in time to tag Hawks.

Sean Muller started for CSU and went the first seven innings shutting out Catawba. But he ran into trouble in the eighth. Watson came in to get the final two outs in the inning, but by that time Catawba had taken a 4-2 lead.

Bowers tied the game for CSU in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run single to center.

Bowers went 4-for-4 in the game. Brendan Collins went 3-for-5 and drove in two runs.

CSU must beat Lander twice on Sunday to win the regional and advance to the NCAA Division II world series in Cary, N.C., next week. The first game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Lander 9, Columbus State 3

Columbus State had scoring opportunities against Lander pitcher Mason McCullough on Saturday afternoon, but the Cougars couldn’t come up with the big hit and fell 9-3 in the NCAA Southeast Regional.

McCullough, a transfer from North Carolina, throws a fastball in the mid-90s but control is often an issue as it was Saturday.

McCullough (5-0) gave up only one unearned run on two hits. He also walked five and hit a batter.

In his five-plus innings, CSU stranded six base runners. For the game, the Cougars left 13 on base.

Meanwhile, Lander made CSU starter Bryan Headley (9-3) pay for his wildness. Headley walked four in three innings, three of those scored as the Bearcats took a 5-1 lead after three innings.

Lander, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation and has won 20 straight games, blew the game open with four runs in the sixth for a 9-1 lead.

Jackson Oliver and Jimmy Obermark had RBIs for the Cougars.

Thomas Berry (2-for-3 with three RBIs) had a two-run homer in the sixth for Lander. Colby Painter hit a homer in the second to give the Bearcats a 2-0 lead.

With the loss, CSU (38-16) was sent to the losers bracket where they will face the Georgia College-Catawba winner late Saturday night. Those teams played an elimination game Saturday afternoon.

If CSU won that game, it would advance to the championship game against Lander. That game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday. CSU would need to beat Lander twice to earn a berth in the NCAA Division II world series, which starts next week in Cary, N.C.

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