LEXINGTON, S.C. – The fifth-seeded Presbyterian College baseball team (27-29) fell to fourth-seeded Gardner-Webb (37-19), 5-3, in a close contest in the final game of the day on Tuesday at the Big South Championship in Lexington, S.C. PC will now face eighth-seeded Radford on Wednesday at approximately 1 p.m. in an elimination game.
Gardner-Webb starter Brad Haymes (11-3) recorded his second complete game against PC this season to earn the victory, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks against six strikeouts. PC starter Brian Kehner (5-7) suffered the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts against no walks in 7.0 innings pitched.
The Blue Hose managed five hits against Haymes, the exact same total from the March 24 game against the first-team All-Conference selection. Cletis Avery led PC at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run. Ryan Hedrick hit a solo home run, while Tyler Weyenberg and Jacob Midkiff each recorded a single.
PC opened with two runs in the top of the first. Weyenberg singled up the middle to open the game. Avery followed with a bunt single to the pitcher, moving Weyenberg to second with an errant throw allowing him to go to third. Avery then stole second a few pitches later to put two in scoring position with no outs. Jackson and Priaulx each followed with sacrifice flies to score both runners and give the Blue Hose the early 2-0 lead.
Gardner-Webb tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the second. Colin Thacker led off the inning with a double to left, before moving third on a groundout and scoring on an RBI infield single Patrick Graham. After a fly out, a single by Tyler Best put runners on first and second, before Matt Simmons doubled in to the right field corner to score Graham and tie it a 2-2.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs tacked on two more runs to claim the lead in the fifth. Best singled to start the inning and Simmons would reach on a fielder’s choice, as a throw by the pitcher pulled Avery off the back at second to allow Best to advance with no outs. Taylor Fisher followed with an RBI single up the middle and two batters later Justin Kunz hit a sac fly to center to push the lead to 4-2.
The Blue Hose cut the lead in half in the seventh thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Hedrick. It was his fourth home run of the season and fifth straight game with a hit.
GWU added a run in the eighth to make it a two-run game. Thacker opened the inning with his 28th double of the year and later moved to third on a wild pitch. Graham would bring him across on a successful squeeze play to add an insurance run and make it 5-2.
Haymes capped it off with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his school-record eighth complete game of the season. Best was just that on the night for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a run. Graham was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, while Thacker was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.
The Blue Hose will face the Highlanders for the first time since 2012. The two did not meet during the regular season in each of the last four seasons.