LYNCHBURG, Va. – Presbyterian College designated hitter Nick Wise hit a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the ninth inning but Liberty spoiled the ending with a two-run walk-off double by Will Shephard for the 4-3 victory in game one of the series on Thursday at the Liberty Baseball Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. PC drops to 28-26 overall and 14-8 in the Big South, while Liberty improves to 31-20 overall and 15-7 in the Big South.
How It Happened
In the ninth inning, Wise hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo drive to right, to give the Blue Hose the 3-2 lead, needing just three outs for the win. Will Smith came on for PC and retired the first two batters he faced, inducing a pair of groundouts. With Liberty down to its final out, Andrew Kowalo reached on an error by the shortstop to put the tying run aboard. Eric Grabowski then kept the game going with a single through the right side to put runners at the corners. Shepherd followed and took a 1-2 pitch down the right field line for a double to score both runners and give the Flames the 4-3 win.
Liberty got on the board early with a run in the first. Trey McDyre drew a one-out walk and Sammy Taormina singled with two outs to put two on. Andrew Kowalo then doubled to right to drive in McDyre to put LU in front but Taormina was thrown out at home, 9-3-2, to keep it a 1-0 game.
PC evened the score at one with a run in the third. Tyler Weyenberg led off the inning with a double to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. Glen Casaceli moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt and AJ Priaulx scored with an RBI groundout to second, tying the game at 1-1.
Liberty regained the lead with a run in the sixth. D.J. Artis led off the inning with a single through the left side, before stealing second and moving to third on an errant throw. McDyre then scored him with a sac fly to left to make it a 2-1 LU lead.
PC once again answered, scoring a run in the top of the seventh. Nick Guimbarda hit a solo home run to center, his third long ball of the season, to lead off the frame and even the game at 2-2.
Pitchers of Record
Garrett Price (5-1) was the benefactor of the walk-off, earning his fifth win of the year. The righty was in-line for the loss heading to the bottom half of the inning, after allowing the solo home run in the top half, the only run and hit surrendered in 2.2 innings of relief work.
Smith (3-1) suffered the loss, allowing two unearned runs on two hits in the ninth inning.
Player of the Game
Nick Wise looked to have played the hero for the Blue Hose on Thursday night, hitting a solo home run with two outs in the top of the ninth to put PC ahead at the time. He went 2-for-4 on the night with the homer, a run and an RBI. Wise was the only PC player to managed more than one hit on the night for his ninth multi-hit game of the season.
- Brian Kehner turned in another gritty performance, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits in 8.0 innings of work with five strikeouts against one walk. He threw 113 pitches in the contest with 77 going for strikes and exited the game in-line for his fifth win of the season.
The same two teams return to action on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Liberty Baseball Stadium for game two of the series. Winthrop fell to Radford on Thursday night, 3-1, so the Flames and Eagles are tied for first place in the Big South standings at 15-7 with PC one game back heading into Friday.