CARY, N.C. — It was nip and tuck all afternoon in game eight of the NCAA Division II College World Series. In the end Delta State edged (44-16) Catawba, 6-5 to advance in the winner’s bracket.
The Statesmen struck for two runs in their first at bat of the game off of Catawba’s Nate King. Jordan Chovanec and Sam Kidd walked in back-to-back at-bats and quickly advanced on stolen bases. Jon Carnahan’s sac-fly RBI plated DSU’s first run and Michael Vinson slapped an RBI single to right to put the Green-and-White ahead.
After a scoreless second, Catawba got to Statesmen starter Colton Mitchell for two runs to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the third. The Indians first run crossed the plate on a bases loaded walk. Garrett Furr delivered a sac-fly RBI to left in the inning as well.
King kept the Statesmen off the board in the fourth and put his offense back to work. The Indians responded with three runs to take a 5-3 lead. Ryan Bostian’s two-RBI single and Ethan Satterfield’s RBI single to right were the big blows in the inning. The runs were also enough to chase Mitchell from the game, as coach Mike Kinnison brought Rickey Winters in from the pen.
Winters settled into a tenuous rhythm, allowing the Statesmen an opportunity to claw back into the contest.
In the bottom of the sixth, DSU scratched across two runs to tie the game at 5-5. Sam Kidd opened the inning with a single to left. After Kidd moved up on a groundout by Kingsley, Carnahan was hit by a pitch. Vinson slapped a dribbler on the left side and reached safely as Catawba’s Brett Underwood sailed a throw down the line. Kidd came around to score and Tyler Aldridge followed with an RBI single to left to score Vinson and tie it up.
The Statesmen took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh, 6-5 as Brent Kakwitch came in to score on an RBI infield single by Jordan Chovanec. DSU loaded the bases with no one out, but Catawba reliever John Tuttle worked out of the jam and keep the deficit at one run.
The Indians threatened in the top of the eighth, as Cameron Beard opened the frame with a single to right. After Winters struck out Keaton Hawks, coach Kinnison brought closer Brandon Hardin out of the pen. Hardin got Chris Dula to pop up the first pitch down the first base line. Dula reached first safely after crashing into Brent Langston and Beard advanced to third. After an umpires meeting, Dula was ruled out by interference and Beard forced to go back to second. Hardin then retired Bostian to preserve the lead.
DSU had a chance to score in the bottom of the inning, but left Aldridge stranded at second after a leadoff single.
In the top of the ninth, the Indians got a leadoff infield single by Satterfield. After a walk to Furr, Catawba had runners on first and second with no outs. Julio Zugbillaga tried to bunt the runners over, but popped out in foul territory to Kakwitch. Hardin struck out Underwood and coaxed a fly out to Kidd to preserve the win.
Winters (5-0) picked up the win out of the pen after throwing 4.0 scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, but struck out five in the effort. Hardin (8) nailed down his eighth save working 1.2 innings with a walk and a strikeout.
King (5-2) was the hard luck loser for the Indians. He pitched 6.0 innings allowing six runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Tuttle pitched 2.0 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts.
Mitchell, who did not factor in the decision, worked 3.1 innings giving up five runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Aldridge led DSU at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance with one RBI. Kidd was 1-for-1 with two runs scored and an RBI. Carnahan and Vinson also collected an RBI for the Statesmen.
Satterfield led all hitters at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Indians.