GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball enjoyed an offensive explosion to take the series opener from the Furman Paladins on the road Thursday, 10-8.
PC improves to 17-10 with its fourth straight win while Furman falls to 15-10. The two sides meet in Clinton on Friday for the second game of the series. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.
The Blue Hose scored 10 runs for the second time this season while Beau Dees (Blenheim, S.C.) and Brett Byrum (Rowlett, Texas) handled the pitching duties. Dees moved to 4-2 by throwing five innings of seven-hit, five-run (three earned) ball while Byrum closed out the last four innings for his first career save. Byrum allowed three runs on four hits to hold off the Paladins.
The game looked like a heavyweight fight as both sides traded heavy blows throughout. From the fourth through seventh innings, each side scored at least one run in every half-inning and PC posted 11 hits. PC took a 3-1 edge in the second inning and never gave up the lead en route to the victory.
Four Blue Hose posted two hits each in Brandon Paul (Augusta, Ga.), Cam McRae (Darlington, S.C.), Nate Chong (Duluth, Ga.) and Billy Motroni (Goose Creek, S.C.). Jay Lizanich (Greer, S.C.) and Brandon Martin (Gray Court, S.C.) each drove in a pair of runs. PC's first five hits were unearned.
Furman took a 1-0 lead on its first at-bat as Will Muzika hit a solo home run out. The Blue Hose responded in the top of the second to take the lead, beginning with McRae and Chong each hitting one-out singles to put two aboard. Ryan Hagan (Sugar Hill, Ga.) then stepped in and smacked a line drive to the shortstop, whose throw to first base sailed wide and allowed McRae and Chong to score. The play also brought Hagan to third and the freshman scored via Lizanich sacrifice fly as PC led after two, 3-1.
Another Furman error set up two PC runs in the top of the fourth. McRae beat out a leadoff infield single and took second on the inning’s second out. Lizanich hit a line drive to third that third baseman Chris Ohmstede threw away, bringing McRae in and sending Lizanich to second. The sophomore infielder came home when Motroni laced an RBI single to the outfield and PC led by four, 5-1.
Furman’s Griffin Davis hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the fourth before Dees induced a pop fly to end the inning with PC ahead, 5-2.
Chong got the run back for PC in the top of the sixth inning, hitting a sacrifice fly to plate Brad Zebedis (Rock Hill, S.C.) and give PC a 6-2 advantage.
The Paladins answered in the bottom of the frame. A walk and an error put two on to set up a two-run Taylor Johnson double that pulled the home side within two, 6-4. Jarrod Rickman added another on an RBI single to centerfield to get PC within one, 6-5.
Martin answered in the top of the next inning. The sophomore ripped a single to centerfield to bring home Lizanich and Motroni to restore two runs to PC’s lead, 8-5.
Will Muzika then hit his second solo home run of the game off by knocking a 1-1 offering from Byrum over the left field wall.
The offensive onslaught continued in the top of the seventh. Chong stole second to get in scoring position and Lizanich delivered at the plate, knocking a double the opposite way to make it 9-6 in favor of the visitors. A wild pitch then sent in Lizanich and PC led by four at the seventh-inning stretch, 10-6.
Furman used a sacrifice fly to get its seventh run of the game and cut PC’s lead to three in the bottom of the seventh, 10-7. Martin made a stellar defensive play to end the inning, diving for a line drive in the right side and flipping the ball to a covering Byrum for the third out.
A scoreless eighth passed and PC took its 10-7 advantage into the bottom of the ninth. Taylor Johnson led off with a solo home run to left field before Jay Lizanich made a great stab and a spinning throw for out number one. A pop fly secured both the second and third outs as PC sealed the win, 10-8.
Presbyterian College 030 212 200 - 10 11 1 (17-10)
Furman.............. 100 131 101 - 8 11 2 (15-10)
Pitchers: Presbyterian College - DEES, Beau; BYRUM, Brett(6) and ZEBEDIS, Brad. Furman - Elliott Warford; Drake Browne(5); Ben Carlson(6) and Paul Nitto.
Win-DEES, Beau(4-2) Save-BYRUM, Brett(1) Loss-Elliott Warford(0-4) T-3:04 A-250
HR FUR - Will Muzika 2 (4); Taylor Johnson (3).
Weather: 55 degrees, clear and bright
Warford faced 2 batters in the 5th.