BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Saturday’s matchup between the Presbyterian College baseball team (12-11, 1-2 Big South) and Gardner-Webb (21-6, 2-1 Big South) once again featured strong pitching in a low-scoring duel with the Runnin’ Bulldogs holding off the Blue Hose, 3-1, at John H. Moss Stadium in Boiling Springs, N.C.
Cletis Avery accounted for the lone PC run, hitting a solo home run in the seventh. Jacob Midkiff went 2-for-4 with a double, while Tyler Weyenberg extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single in the third inning. That is the longest hitting streak by a PC player in the school’s Division I era, which began with the 2008 season. The previous long was 17 games by Jared Combs in 2009.
Gardner-Webb starting hurler Bradley Hallman (3-1) earned the victory with 6.0 innings pitched, six hits, one run, one walk and six strikeouts. PC starter Jack McLaughlin (0-2) suffered the loss, despite a strong outing in just his second start of the season. He threw 5.0 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Will Sellers earned his sixth save of the season for GWU, throwing 3.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.
Gardner-Webb got on the board first with a run in the first inning. A single and a double to start the inning put runners on second and third with no outs. A sac fly plated the runner from third but McLaughlin would get a foul out to the catcher and a strikeout to retire the side with nothing else across.
Both pitchers would settle in over the next three innings. Neither team managed more than one runner aboard at any given time, as Hallman faced just two above the minimum and McLaughlin just three.
PC finally threatened with two on in the fifth. Avery drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play by Ryan Hedrick to put runners on the corners. Hedrick would take second to put two in scoring position but Hallman induced a fly out to center to the end inning.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to add a run in the bottom half of the frame. A two-out single and a wild pitch put a runner on second for Colin Thacker, who singled to drive in his 31st run of the year and give GWU a 2-0 lead.
PC got on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the seventh. Avery led off the inning with a solo home run to left to cut the Gardner-Webb lead to 2-1. After a pitching change, Koski singled up the middle to put the tying run on first. A sacrifice bunt by Hedrick moved him to second and a fly out to center allowed him to move to third but a strikeout end the inning.
Gardner-Webb pushed the lead back to two with a run in the eighth. A pinch-hit, leadoff single by Chandler Redmond got things started and forced a pitching change, as Hayden Deal came on for PC. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second with one out and two batters later an RBI single by Justin Kunz drove him to make it 3-1.
Five players totaled two hits for the Runnin’ Bulldogs led by Danny Sullivan with a 2-for-3 day with a run and an RBI. Thacker and Kunz each went 2-for-4 with an RBI to drive in two of the three runs.
Both pitchers were able to work effectively with runners on base. PC went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, while GWU was 2-for-12.
The Blue Hose return to action on Tuesday, March 29, at Wofford with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.