St. Catharine junior right-hander Eddie Rivera tossed 121 pitches in the Mid-South Conference tournament opener in Kingsport, Tenn. And, of course, none was bigger than the last one when he got a ground out to first base with the bases loaded to end the game, giving the Bat Pats a 2-1 win against second seeded Georgetown.
Rivera (7-2) went the distance allowing one unearned run on five hits. He walked four and struck out nine. The Tigers (33-16) plated their only run in the second inning when Rivera issued one of his four walks, then sent the runner to second on an errant pick-off throw from where he scored on a single.
The Bat Pats (37-19) tied the score in the top of the fifth. Joey Xavier singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a Jeremy Turpin sacrifice bunt. Xavier went to third when the Tigers’ first baseman misplayed Joel Cooper’s grounder and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Joey Andrada.
It was small ball again when the Patriots scored what turned out to be the winning run in the seventh inning. Adrian Garcia bunted for a base hit and went to second on a sacrifice by Xavier. A single by Turpin sent Garcia to third and he scored on a Cooper ground out to shortstop.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Georgetown in the ninth inning with two outs. But Rivera got TC O’Neal to ground to Xavier at first to end the game.
The Bat Pats will now move on to play Lindsey Wilson Friday at 7:00 in the semifinals of the winner’s bracket. Lindsey Wilson beat University of the Cumberlands 6-2 in their opening game.