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Keaton Hawks' walk-off single pushes Catawba past Railsplitters, 6-5

SALISBURY, NC -- The Railsplitters held a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth before a walk-off, two-run single by Keaton Hawks propelled the Catawba Indians to a 6-5 victory in the first of a three-game South Atlantic Conference series on Friday in Salisbury, North Carolina. Lincoln Memorial University (20-18, 12-10 SAC) dropped their 10th straight game to Catawba College (28-13, 16-6 SAC), but it was only their second loss in their past seven games overall.

The 'Splitters got out to an early lead by taking advantage of four combined errors by the Indians in the second and third stanzas to put three runs on the board. In the top of the second, Nick Morabito reached safely with two outs thanks to an error by Catawba's third baseman and came around to score on a single through the left side by Josh Coker. In the top of the third, back-to-back errors following a lead-off walk by Jacob West loaded the bases with no outs. Curt Fuqua notched an RBI single in that frame to plate the first run and another run came around to score despite a double play ball.

Catawba was unable to muster a hit off of LMU starter Brandon Cowan until the bottom of the fifth, as Garrett Furr broke the no-hit bid with a lead-off single. Cowan evoked a double play ball in the next at-bat to clear the bases, however, Cameron Cockman put the Indians on the board with a solo home run over the left center field wall to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Lincoln Memorial erased that run by adding a run of their own in the top of the seventh. Nolan Woody and Josh Coker sparked the rally with back-to-back lead-off singles, and Scott Miller sent Coker home with a two-out single through the left side of the infield.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Indians rallied with two outs to tie the game at four apiece. Cockman and Cameron Beard singled with two outs to set the stage for pinch hitter Zach Smith, who came off the bench to lift Catawba with a three-run home run to left field, drawing the game back even.

After an uneventful eighth frame, the game went into the ninth all square at 4-4. After a strike out was induced, Josh Coker pounded a solo home run over the right field wall to catapult LMU back on top.

The Indians would, however, get the last laugh, as they rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to take the walk-off victory. Julio Zubilaga led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cockman. Beard was up next, and he grounded out to the second baseman to move Zubilaga to third base with two outs. Craig Brooks walked in the next at-bat, and pinch runner Blake Houston quickly stole second to put runners on second and third with two outs. Keaton Hawks did the rest from there, as he notched a single back up the middle to plate both runners and lift Catawba to a 6-5 win.

Brandon Cowan put in another strong effort on the mound for Lincoln Memorial, as the senior tossed eight innings in the start, allowing only six hits and five earned runs en route to the no decision. Cowan fanned nine batters and tossed 135 pitches in a gritty performance on the bump. Junior Josh Coker was saddled with the loss after allowing one hit and one run in 0.2 innings of work in relief. He falls to 1-2 on the season in defeat.

At the plate, the Railsplitters scattered eight hits to narrowly edge the Indians, 8-7, in that category. Coker led Lincoln Memorial with a three-for-four showing that included two runs and two RBI. Nolan Woody added two hits in the contest.

Cameron Cockman was the lone Indian to tally multiple hits in the game, as he notched a two-for-three showing at the plate with two runs and an RBI. Zach Smith recorded a game-high three RBI.

Nick Lomascolo went the distance for Catawba, striking out 10 batters in nine innings of work to move to 8-2 on the season. Lomascolo allowed seven hits and only three earned runs.

The Railsplitters and Indians are scheduled to complete their South Atlantic Conference series with a doubleheader back in Salisbury, North Carolina tomorrow afternoon. First pitch in game one is slated for 1 p.m.
Catawba 6, Lincoln Memorial 5 (Apr 05, 2013 at Salisbury, NC)
Lincoln Memorial.... 012 000 101 - 5 8 0 (20-18, 12-10 SAC)
Catawba............. 000 010 302 - 6 7 4 (28-13, 16-6 SAC)
Pitchers: Lincoln Memorial - Brandon Cowan; Josh Coker(9) and Nick Pressley. Catawba -
Nick Lomascolo and Jon Wallace; Danny Parisi.
Win-Nick Lomascolo(8-2) Loss-Josh Coker(1-2) T-2:33 A-214
HR LMU - Josh Coker (7).
HR CATBB - Cameron Cockman (1); Zach Smith (1).

B. Cowan faced 1 batter in the 9th.

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