CLINTON, S.C. – With the potential tying run on second with two outs in the ninth inning, Radford’s Kyle Butler singled to right but PC’s Nick Guimbarda threw out the runner attempting to score to preserve the 4-3 victory for the Presbyterian College baseball team on Friday in the series opener against the Highlanders at the PC Baseball Complex. The Blue Hose improve to 13-15 overall and 2-2 in the Big South, while Radford dropped to 11-14 overall and 2-2 in Big South play.
How It Happened
PC built an early lead by scoring in each of its first three at-bats. In the first, Cletis Avery singled off of the outstretched glove of the third baseman to put a runner aboard with one out. AJ Priaulx followed with an RBI double, as Avery was going on the pitch and was able to score all the way from first to give the Blue Hose a 1-0 lead.
PC added two more runs in the second. Tyler Weyenberg singled to lead off the inning and Glen Casaceli followed with a bunt single on an attempted sacrifice. Nick Guimbarda then attempted a sacrifice bunt to move up both runners but also found his way on base with a single, loaded them up with no outs. Back-to-back RBI groundouts by Andrew Bladt and Brett Auckland scored two of three to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
The Blue Hose added one more in the fourth. Nick Wise doubled to left center with one out to put a runner in scoring position. TJ Richardson followed with a single to put runners at the corners with only one out. Weyenberg then singled in Wise from third on a ball that hopped right off the edge of the infield grass and over the head of the second baseman to put PC in front 4-0.
PC starter Brian Kehner was in control early, allowing just batter to reach through the first four innings. Radford worked its way back in to the ballgame, though, with a run in the fifth and two more in the seventh. A one-out double by Matt Roth was followed by a single from Anthony Miano to put runners at the corners. After a flyout, Miano drew the defense’s attention on a stolen base attempt, which allowed Roth to score from third for the Highlanders’ first run.
Roth and Miano did the damage in the seventh as well, opening the inning with a double and single, respectively, to put two in scoring position with no outs. Roth would come in a few pitches later on a wild pitch, before a two-out single by Adam Whitacre plated Miano to cut the lead to one at 4-3.
Radford threatened in both of its final two at-bats, putting at least the tying run in scoring position in both instances but PC closer Ryan Hedrick worked out of the jam both times. In the eighth, a single and an error put runners at second and third with one out but Hedrick recorded back-to-back strikeouts to stand both and retire the side. Then, in the ninth, Richard De la Cruz led off the inning with a pinch-hit single to right and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Hedrick then got a lineout to left on the first pitch of the next at-bat for the second out. After getting down 0-2, Butler poked a singled to right to potentially score De la Cruz and tie the game but the runner fell halfway between third and home. An accurate throw from Guimbarda to Richardson, allowed the catcher to tag him as he retreated to third for the final out of the game.
Pitchers of Record
PC starter Brian Kehner (2-1) earned his second win of the year, allowing three runs on seven hits in 7.0 innings pitch with five strikeouts and no walks. The lefty has now worked at least 7.0 innings in each of his last six starts, producing a quality in start in five of the six. He also has managed at least five strikeouts in each of the six starts and now boasts a 44 Ks to just four walks on the season.
Radford starter Zach Ridgely (3-4) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings pitched with five strikeouts and no walks. After the rough start, Ridgely allowed just two hits from the fourth inning on, as he faced the minimum in his final four innings of work.
Ryan Hedrick earned his fourth save of the season, working the final two innings unscathed despite three Radford hits. The righty struck out the side in the eighth, including two huge punchouts with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position.
Player of the Game
Tyler Weyenberg had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI in the victory. Weyenberg, batting in the six spot in the order for the first time this season, singled in each of his three at-bats for his team-leading third three-hit game of the year.
- The game was PC’s 13th this season decided by just one run. The Blue Hose improved to 7-6 in one-run games with the victory.
- Eight of the nine starters in the PC batting order recorded a hit in the win, as the team totaled 10 hits. It was the third time in the last four games that the Blue Hose managed double-digit hits.
- Priaulx and Brett Auckland each drove in a run on the afternoon to push the season total to 15 for both of them, one shy of the team lead.
PC and Radford return to action on Saturday in game two series at 2 p.m. at the PC Baseball Complex.