AUBURN, Ala. – The Presbyterian College baseball team used a pair of Auburn errors in the top of the eighth to take a 5-3 lead, but the Tigers rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the inning to even the series at 1-1 with a 7-5 victory on Saturday afternoon at Plainsman Park in Auburn, Ala. PC goes to 9-8 on the year, while Auburn now sits at 11-5.
How It Happened
PC struck first with two runs in its first trip to the plate. Cletis Avery singled to left with one out and AJ Priaulx reached on an error by the shortstop, putting runners on first and second. Nick Wise hit in to a fielder’s choice with a ground ball to third that forced out Priaulx at second but Wise beat the throw to first to put runners on the corners with two outs. Nick Guimbarda delivered yet again, doubling in to the gap in right center to plate both base runners and give the Blue Hose the early 2-0 lead.
Auburn put runners aboard in the second, third and fourth innings but each time PC starter Tanner Chock came away with no damage done. The Tigers did finally break through with a run in the fifth. After the leadoff batter grounded out, Auburn got a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Dylan Ingram singled to right to score one and keep the bases loaded. Chock responded with back-to-back strikeouts to shut down the threat and maintain the 2-1 PC lead.
The Tigers seized the lead for the first time with two runs in the sixth. After a leadoff groundout, Blake Logan and Damon Haecker got back-to-back singles to put two on with one out. A fielder’s choice made it first and third with two outs for Josh Anthony, who doubled to left center to both plate both runners and give AU the 3-2 lead.
The Blue Hose answered immediately with a run in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Avery reached on an error by the shortstop. A few pitches later he stole second, his ninth stolen base of the year, and continued to third on a passed ball to move 90 feet away with Priaulx at the plate. He then tied the game with a single just beyond the reach of the second baseman to score Avery and make it 3-3.
PC regained the lead with two runs in the eighth without the benefit of a hit. Glen Casaceli drew a one-out walk and Andrew Bladt reached on an error to put two aboard with one out. After a popout for the second out, a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance 90 feet. Another Auburn error on a grounder to short allowed Avery to reach and Casacaeli and Bladt to score put the Blue Hose in front, 5-3.
The Tigers swung the game back in their favor with four-run eighth. A single and a hit-by-pitch put the first two board with no outs. After a PC pitching change, a single loaded the bases and a walk by Anthony brought in a run to cut the lead to 5-4. Daniel Robert followed with a two-run single to right to put AU in front, 6-5, with two on and still no outs. After a second PC pitching change, Ingram drew a walk to load the bases again. PC then turned to Ryan Hedrick, who retired all three batters he faced but not before a sacrifice fly to center scored one more run to make it a 7-5 AU lead.
Pitchers of Record
Auburn reliever Ryan Watson (1-0) earned the win out of the bullpen, working 1.1 innings in relief and allowing two unearned runs on a hit and two walks.
PC reliever Hunter Kyzar (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk without recording an out.
Auburn’s Corey Herndon earned his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing a hit and striking out one.
Player of the Game
Nick Guimbarda went 2-for-4 with a double, an intentional walk and two RBIs, driving PC’s first two runs of the game. The lefty has now compiled four straight multi-hit games with a double and at least one RBI in each. Gumby doubled to right center with two outs in the first of today’s game, scoring two to give PC an early 2-0 lead.
- AJ Priaulx and Nick Wise have now each hit safely in nine straight games. Priaulx was 2-for-5 with an RBI on the day, once again improving his average to .397. Wise was 1-for-5 on the afternoon with a run, his 13th run of the season to tie for the team lead.
- Tanner Chock turned in one of his best starts of the year, allowing just one run and scattering seven hits in 5.0 innings of work. He managed four strikeouts against two walks, while stranding eight Auburn runners.
- Ryan Hedrick worked an inning for the second straight day and the third time this week. He retired all three batters he faced in order.
The two wrap up the series with a decisive game three on Sunday at Plainsman Park with the finale scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. The game can once again be seen on the SEC Network+.