CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team (21-21, 7-9 Big South) fell to Longwood (25-18, 9-7 Big South), 4-1, on Friday afternoon at the PC Baseball Complex after the Lancers rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision but both were excellent in the low-scoring ballgame. PC starter Brian Kehner went 7.2 innings and allowed just one run, while scattering 10 hits with four strikeouts against one walk. Longwood starter Travis Burnette also went 7.2 innings and allowed one run on five hits with a pair of walks against six strikeouts.
The two, three and four hitters in the order accounted for all five PC hits in the game. Tyler Weyenberg went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and the team’s lone run, as he extended his current hitting streak to 13 games. AJ Priaulx also had two hits for the third time in his last five games, while Weston Jackson went 1-for-3 with an RBI, his team-leading 43rd of the year.
Ultimately, the game hinged on the ninth inning with the teams locked at 1-1. After a leadoff groundout for the first out, Longwood loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch, a double and an intentional walk. Designated hitter Alex Lewis then perfectly executed a squeeze play with a bunt single to score the runner from third and give the Lancers the lead with the bases still loaded. Michael Osinski followed with a two-RBI double to left center to push it to the eventual final score of 4-1.
Michael Catlin (4-0) earned the victory with 1.1 innings of hitless baseball in relief for Longwood. Aaron Lesiak (2-3) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen.
PC got its run against Burnette in the bottom of the first. Weyenberg got it started with a triple in the right-center gap with one out. Jackson then scored him with an RBI, infield single on a high chopper to the stortstop to score Weyenberg and give PC the 1-0 lead.
Kehner surrendered three hits through the first three innings but no runner was able to advance past second base. The Lancers scratched one across in the fourth to the game at 1-1. Drew Kitson hit a ground-rule double to left with one out and two batters later, Brandon Harvell singled through the left side to score him from second.
Neither team was able to put more than one runner board at one time through the next three innings. Both Kehner and Burnette faced just two above the minimum during that stretch.
Both teams threatened in the eighth to chase the starting pitchers. Longwood got back-to-back one-out singles to put two on, before Kehner got his last batter to fly out for the second out. Lesiak came on and immediately threw a wild pitch to allow the runners to advance. However, on the next pitch, he induced a 6-3 groundout to end the inning and keep the game tied.
In the bottom half, PC got a two-out double to right center by Weyenberg to put the go-ahead run on base. The Lancers would intentionally walk Jackson to put two on, before turning to Catlin. He needed just one pitch to end the inning, getting a fly out to left to hold the score at 1-1, before Longwood took the lead in the ninth for the victory.
Eight on the nine hitters in the order for Longwood record at least one hit, while the top five in the order each had two hits apiece. Sammy Miller and Connar Bastaich each went 2-for-4 with a run scored at the top of the order, while Osinski was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
The two are currently scheduled to play game two at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the series finale to follow at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Stay tuned to GoBlueHose.com for latest on any schedule changes, as the threat of inclement weather could impact this weekend’s schedule.