SALISBURY, N.C. – Despite a four-run ninth inning, capped off by sophomore Steven Cooper’s second home run in as many games, Anderson University baseball dropped the opening game of a three-game set to South Atlantic Conference favorite Catawba, 10-5, Friday evening at Newman Park.
Cooper turned on a pitch and sent it over the right field wall for a three-run home run, his second of the season after knocking out a first inning home run in the series finale at Wingate last weekend. Combined with Cooper’s home run and Jonathan Zalud’s second inning solo shot, four of AU’s five runs on the evening came from home runs. For Zalud, the home run was his first of the year.
Despite the blasts, the Indian offense was too much for the Trojans, as the home side recorded 18 hits for 10 runs. The top of the Catawba lineup of Blake Houston and Paul Kronenfeld combined for six hits, six runs and three RBI to pace the team, while Kronenfeld blasted his fourth home run of the season in the fifth inning. Catawba’s Ethan Satterfield also posted three hits, while Julio Zubillaga and TJ Wharton claimed two hits apiece.
Matching Cooper’s two hits for the game was senior third baseman David Jones, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored. The Trojans knocked out seven hits for the game, but was unable to figure out Catawba’s pitching trio of starter Craig Brooks, who picked up his fourth victory of the year, and relievers Michael Trombino and Joe Watson, as the group posted 11 strikeouts.
Brooks’ counterpart, right-hander Spencer Earle, tossed 5.1 innings and struck out four Catawba hitters for the game.
In the tightly bunched SAC standings, which sees the separation between first and ninth place by just five games, Anderson is now 7-6 in the league, a loss behind the Indians at 7-5.
Anderson returns to action on Saturday for the final two games of the three-game series with a doubleheader at Newman Park. First pitch of the opening contest against Catawba is set for 1 p.m.