CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team (25-27) defeated USC Upstate (20-29) by a score of 3-1 on a rain-soaked Tuesday afternoon at the PC Baseball Complex in Clinton, S.C. The victory marked the 25th of the season for PC, its second-most in a season since moving to Division I in 2008.
Jack McLaughlin (1-3) earned his first victory of the season with 5.0 innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits with a career-high six strikeouts against no walks. USC Upstate starter Colton Chupp suffered the loss, allowing three unearned runs on two hits and three walks in 2.0 innings pitch. Hayden Deal earned his sixth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning, as four PC relievers combined to throw 4.0 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Cletis Avery drove in two of the team’s three runs in the win with a 1-for-4 day at the plate. Ryan Hedrick was 2-for-4 with a run, while Jacob Midkiff and Mick Tinny each scored a run. Seven of the nine hitters in the lineup for PC recorded a hit.
The Spartans got on the board three batters in to the game with a solo home run off the bat of James Fowlkes, his ninth of the year, to take a 1-0 lead.
PC pulled in front with all three of its runs in the bottom of the second. Midkiff drew a leadoff walk to put a runner aboard with no outs. After a fly out, an error allowed Hedrick to reach and Midkiff to advance to second with one out. A pop out and a walk to Tinny loaded the bases with two outs. Tyler Weyenberg drew an RBI walk to plate the first run and keep the bases loaded. Avery then provided the big hit with a two-RBI single to right to score Hedrick and Tinny give PC a 3-1 lead, one that they would never relinquish.
McLaughlin settled in after the first, retiring 12 of the next 15 batters that he faced, including five via the strikeout. The first two Spartans would reach against him in the third but he proceeded to strike out two and a get a foul out to the catcher to strand them. Russell Thompson and Colton Springs held USC Upstate mostly in check in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to preserve the advantage.
The Spartans best opportunity to cut in to the lead came in the eighth. Daniel Fickas reached on an error by the shortstop to start the inning, before Fowlkes singled to right to put two on with no outs against Aaron Lesiak. After a big strikeout for the first out, Charlie Carpenter singled to load the bases with one out. Lesiak came up clutch for PC, inducing a 6-3 double play to end the inning and keep the Spartans off the board.
In the 9th, Deal allowed a leadoff infield single but would retire the next in order with two groundouts and a pop out to earn his sixth save of the year, second-most in PC’s Division I history.
The Spartans totaled 10 hits in the loss, led by Hunter Gilbert with a three-hit game. Fowlkes went 2-for-4 at the plate with a lone run and RBI of the contest on the solo homer. Devon Ortiz also had a two-hit game at the bottom of the order for Upstate.
PC wraps up the regular season at home with a three-game series against Charleston Southern, beginning Thursday at 3 p.m. at the PC Baseball Complex.