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Patriots calm RedStorm by taking series; conference tournament opens at home

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By The Staff

SCC Sports Information

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The University of Rio Grande visited Edelen-Haydon Field over the weekend looking to claim first place in the Mid-South Conference by winning a four- game series over Luther Bramblett’s St. Catharine College Patriots. But the visitors instead lost two of three games (the fourth was rained out) and will have to settle for a second-place finish behind regular-season champion Campbellsville University.

Rio Grande has been ranked as high as 14th in the nation this season and came in with a record of 39-8 and a ranking of 27th. But the Bat Pats, now 34-20 overall and 16-11 in the conference, which is good for fourth place, played solid baseball for most of the weekend. And that performance guaranteed them the home field for this weekend’s conference opening series.

The Patriots won the first game of the series in Friday’s opener by a 4-3 score. They dropped Friday’s second game 13-2 in five innings, but after the Saturday doubleheader was rained out, they rebounded Sunday to win 5-3. Sunday’s second game was started, but called in the second inning due to rain.

“We got timely hitting and we beat their two best pitchers,” said Bramblett. “We got behind in both games, but our pitchers kept it close to allow us to come back.”

Timmy Paxton and Travis Adams pitched the Patriots to the 4-3 victory in Friday’s first game. Paxton (5-1) pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Adams recorded his first save of the season by hurling 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.

Kaleb Henry delivered the big hit for the Patriots in a four-run third inning with a two-run triple. Adam Blair and Philip Dean also had RBIs.

In Friday’s second game the RedStorm scored seven runs in the fifth inning to complete the 13-2 rout. Joel Brockman (5-5) pitched three innings and took the loss. St. Catharine had five players with one hit apiece.

On Sunday the Patriots got a gritty performance from starting pitcher Nick Holmes (5-5) who worked six innings to pick up the win. Holmes allowed six hits, fanned five and walked five. Brad Krohman pitched a perfect seventh inning to record his seventh save of the season.

Adam Blair was 3-3 in the game and Josh Landers had two hits, including a triple and two RBIs.

The fourth place finish means St. Catharine will now host University of the Cumberlands in a best-of-three series. The scheduled dates for that are Friday and Saturday, but the series could start Thursday to due predicted rainy weather over the weekend.

The Patriots swept Cumberlands in a four- game series in March, but Bramblett says that is not an indication that the upcoming series will be the same.

“We were playing really good ball then. They are now playing much better than they were then. It will be a very, very tough test for us,” he said.

Cumberlands finished the regular season with a 12-15 conference record and a 28-26 overall slate.