CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team and Western Carolina went back-for-forth on Tuesday evening at Hennon Stadium in Cullowhee, N.C., as the lead changed multiple times with the two offenses combining for 22 hits but in the end the Catamounts overtook PC, 10-9, in the later innings. The Blue Hose go to 7-4 on the season, falling in its first road game of the year.
Weston Jackson led PC with three hits in five at-bats with a career-high-tying four RBIs. Tyler Weyenberg also recorded a three-hit game, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Brett Auckland was 2-for-4 with a double and three runs and Cletis Avery was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs. PC totaled six doubles as a team, which is tied for the Division I-era school record.
Colton Davis (1-0) earned the win in relief for Western Carolina, tossing 1.2 innings of perfect baseball with three strikeouts. Aaron Lesiak (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings pitched.
PC scored first for the 11th straight game with a run in the top of the first. Auckland led off the game with a double to right center and Weyenberg moved him to third with a sac bunt. Two batters later, Jackson doubled to right center to score him and give the Blue Hose a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Hose added to its lead with a run in the second. Avery led off the game with a double to left and would later move to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Patrick Burt came through with a clutch single through the left side to plate Avery and make it 2-0.
Western Carolina busted the game open with a five-run second inning. The first two Catamounts in the inning would reach and end up at second and third after a double steal. A strikeout marked the first out of the inning but Nobu Suzuki singled up the middle to score both runners and tie the game at 2-2. Back-to-back singles and a groundout would plate two more, before a double by Danny Bermudez drove in the fifth run, giving the Catamounts the 5-2 lead.
PC responded by tying the game with three runs in the top of the third. Weyenberg led off the inning with a bunt single past the pitcher, before Johnson walked to put two on with no outs. A strikeout and a groundout put runners on second and third with two outs but Avery came through his second double of the day to plate both runners. Colton Chapman then followed with a two-out single to score Avery and tie the game at 5-5.
The Blue Hose kept the offense going with two more runs in the fourth. After a groundout, Auckland walked, Weyenberg singled and Peter Johnson walked to load the bases with one out. Jackson then singled home two runs to help PC regain the lead at 7-5.
Western Carolina tied the game with two runs in the fifth. Garrett Brown singled to lead off the inning and followed by stealing second and then moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt. A groundout scored him from third, before Matt Smith hit a solo homer to right center to tie the game at 7-7.
PC pulled back in front with a run in the sixth. Auckland singled to lead off the inning and Weyenberg moved him to second with his second sac bunt of the game to put a runner on second with one out. After a strikeout, Jackson singled in Auckland for his fourth RBI of the game to give his team an 8-7 lead.
Western Carolina tied it again with a single run in seventh. A leadoff single followed by a stolen base put a runner on second with no outs. After a PC pitching change, a sac bunt and a sac fly plated the runner to make it an 8-8 game.
PC regained the lead again with a run in the eighth. Connor Slagill led off the inning with a pinch-hit double to right and Guy Casaceli would come in to pinch run. A groundout to second by Auckland moved him to third and Weyenberg then doubled to drive him in and give PC a 9-8 advantage.
The Catamounts persistence paid off in the eighth, coming in the form of two runs to take the lead. A hit-by-pitch and a walk followed by a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with just one out. PC would turn to the pen again but WCU had the answer, as a sacrifice fly and an RBI triple by Brett Pope pushed the SoCon foe in front for the eventual final score of 10-9.
Pope put together a three-hit night at the plate to lead Western Carolina, adding two runs and two RBIs out of the leadoff spot. Bermudez recorded three RBIs in the win to lead his team.
Presbyterian returns to action this weekend with three games in the Perfect Game Spring Swing Invitational in Lake Point, Ga. The action starts Friday as PC faces Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m.