CLINTON, S.C. – With the game tied at 8-8 in the 11th inning, AJ Priaulx singled to left center to score Tyler Weyenberg from second and give PC the walk-off win over Liberty, 9-8, on Sunday afternoon at the PC Baseball Complex in Clinton, S.C. The Blue Hose take their first ever series win against the Flames and improve to 21-18 overall and 7-8 in the Big South.
PC held a 6-4 lead going to the ninth inning but Liberty tied the game on a two-RBI single by Payton Scarbrough. In the 10th, the Flames took the lead with another two-RBI single, this time by Will Shepherd, to make it an 8-6 lead. PC responded in the bottom half with RBI singles by Peter Johnson and Rob Koski to tie the game at 8-8 going to the 11th. In the 11th, Weyenberg doubled just inside the third base bag to lead off the inning and two batters later Priaulx delivered with his third hit of the game to give PC its seventh conference victory of the season.
Priaulx led the way with a 3-for-6 afternoon at the plate with three RBIs. Brett Auckland recorded a three-hit day with two runs and an RBI, while Weyenberg also had three hits with a double and two runs. Weston Jackson continued his strong campaign, going 2-for-4 with two intentional walks, a double, two runs and an RBI. Jackson now has 21 doubles on the year, two shy of the PC Division I record.
Cole Norwood (1-1) earned the victory with a scoreless 11th inning, while Shane Quarterley (5-3) suffered the loss for the second straight day, allowing a run on five hits with one walk in 0.2 inning of work. PC starter David Sauer was in line for his fourth victory of the year until Liberty tied the game in the ninth. He went 7.0 innings, allowed four runs and scattered 11 hits with a strikeout against three walks.
Both teams got on the board in the first inning. Liberty started it with two runs in the top half on an RBI single by Shepherd and a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead. PC got a run in the bottom half, Jackson got his 21st double of the year and Priaulx followed with a single through the left side to drive him in and make it a 2-1 game.
The Flames extend the lead with one run in both the third and fifth innings. Andrew Yacyk doubled to right center with one out in third and Dalton Britt followed with a single up the middle to score him. In the 5th, with runners on second and third, Sammy Taormina hit a sac fly in foul territory that allowed the runner from third to score and make it a 4-1 Liberty lead.
PC busted it open with a four-run bottom half of the fifth. Glen Casaceli led off with an infield single and Mick Tinny moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Auckland drove him in with an RBI single to center for the first run of the inning. Weyenberg then reached on a bunt single and both runners would get two extra bases on a throwing error by the pitcher, allowing Auckland to score and Weyenberg to move to third with just one out.
Jackson followed with an RBI single through the left side to knock in his 41st run of the year and tie the game at 4-4. Jackson would move to second on a wild pitch and Priaulx recorded his second hit of the day with an RBI single to right center to put PC in front 5-4.
The Blue Hose added a run in the seventh. Auckland reached on a hit-by-pitch, stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by the catcher with one out. Later in the inning, he would come home on a wild pitch to push the lead to 6-4.
Hayden Deal came on to pitch the ninth for PC, after getting the win in Saturday’s contest. He retired the first batter he faced but Shepherd managed a walk with one out. Yacyk then followed with double down the left field line, putting runners on second and third with one out. Deal responded with a three-pitch strikeout of Britt and was just one strike away from ending the game. Scarbrough had other plans, though, and doubled down the right field line to plate both runners and tie the game at 6-6.
Both teams would bring in a pair of runs in the 10th. Liberty applied the pressure, as back-to-back one-out singles put two on for Shepherd, who singled to left with two outs to score both and give the Flames the 8-6 advantage. In the home half, Avery singled and Midkiff reached on an error to put two on with one out for Johnson, who singled to right to score Avery. Two batters later, Koski came through the pinch-hit RBI single through the left side to tie the game at 8-8. Auckland then followed with a single but the runner from second was thrown out 8-2 trying to score from second to force the 11th.
After a scoreless top half by Norwood, PC needed just three batters in the final inning to claim the victory. Weyenberg led off with a double inside the bag and Jackson was intentionally walked for the second time to bring up Priaulx. He recorded his third RBI single of the day to score the game-winning run from second and clinch the series for PC.
DJ Artis went 4-for-6 for the Flames with two runs scored, while Yacyk was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs. Britt also totaled three hits with Shepherd going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a run.
PC has now won five of its last seven home games, including 5-1 mark in Big South games, and now holds a 12-4 record at the PC Baseball Complex this season. Four of the five conference wins at home have been decided by two runs or less.
The Blue Hose are back in action with a five-game week, beginning on Tuesday with a road game at Furman. They will then host North Carolina A&T on Wednesday afternoon, before Longwood comes to town on Friday for a three-game Big South series.