LEXINGTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team used a five-run first inning jump out to an early lead en route to a 9-4 victory over the top-seeded Winthrop Eagles in a seven-inning contest on Sunday morning at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. The Blue Hose now advance to the Big South Championship game, where they will face Radford at 3 p.m. this afternoon.
How It Happened
PC broke the game wide open with five-run first inning. Cletis Avery got it started with a one-out, solo home run to left, his fourth of the season, to give the Blue Hose a 1-0 lead. After a flyout for the second out, Nick Wise and Nick Guimbarda got back-to-back singles to keep the inning going. Thatcher Coleman followed with a RBI ground-rule double to left to score Wise and put runners at the corners. AJ Priaulx then launched a ball to right for his eighth home run of the year, this one of the three-run variety, to make it a 5-0 PC lead.
Winthrop got on the board in the bottom half of the first with a lone run. Grant English hit a one-out, solo home run to right to cut the advantage to 5-1.
PC got the run back in the top of the second. Tyler Weyenberg hit his career-high fifth home run of the season with a drive to right to push lead back to five at 6-1.
The Blue Hose added to its lead with two more runs in the fourth. A one-out single by Brett Auckland and a Winthrop error put two on with one out. After a flyout for the second out, Wise singled through the right side to score both runners, giving PC an 8-1 lead.
Winthrop scratched across a run in the bottom of the fourth. Babe Thomas and Tyler Halstead got back-to-back one-out singles to put two on. A fielder's choice erased Halstead and moved Thomas to third but a throwing error attempting to turn a double play allowed him to score and make it a
PC tacked on another run in the fifth inning. Connor Slagill drew a one-out walk and Tannor Byrd followed with a double to right to put runners at second and third with no outs. Auckland then drove in Slagill with a sac fly to center to extend the lead at 9-2.
Winthrop drew closer with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Three straight singles by the Eagles should have loaded the bases but Anthony Paulsen was doubled off after trying to go to third when the base was occupied, making it runners on second and third with one out. Hunter Lipscomb drove in the first run with a sac fly to center, before Babe Thomas singled in the second to make it a 9-4 ballgame.
Russ Branch came on to pitch for PC to start the sixth and was able to hold down the Eagles in its final two at-bats, facing the minimum in 2.0 innings of work.
Pitchers of Record
PC starter Eric Miles (7-1) earned his team-leading seven win of the year, as he allowed four runs on 11 hits in 5.0 innings of work with three strikeouts against no walks.
Winthrop starter Colten Rendon (7-5) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on five hits in 0.2 innings on the bump.
Player of the Game
Nick Wise turned in a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a run and two RBIs in the victory. It was the fourth three-hit game of the season for the lefty and his 12th multi-hit game of the year overall. With the big day, Wise improved his season average to .304, tied for third-highest average on the team.
- PC now makes it first appearance in the Big South Championship game in just its second appearance in the tournament. A victory against Radford this afternoon would give the Blue Hose its first conference title in Division I and its first since 2003.
- Nick Guimbarda continued his strong play in the tournament, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Thatcher Coleman, replacing the injured TJ Richardson, went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI out of the six spot in the order.
- Cletis Avery, AJ Priaulx and Tyler Weyenberg all hit home runs in the Blue Hose victory. Avery and Weyenberg each recorded a solo shot, while Priaulx hit his team-leading eighth of the season with the three-run dinger.
- All nine batters in the PC order recorded a hit in the win, as the team totaled 13 hits in the victory. PC also totaled a season-high-tying three home runs in the win, its fourth three-homer game of the year.
- PC has now won seven of its last eight games against Winthrop dating to last season.
The Blue Hose advance to the Big South Championship game this afternoon against Radford at 3 p.m. PC and Radford will meet in the Big South Tournament for the second time in as many seasons. Radford claimed a 16-8 victory over PC in an elimination game a year ago. The Blue Hose did take the season series against the Highlanders in Clinton, S.C. earlier this season, taking two of three.