CLINTON, S.C. – With the game tied at 4-4 in the sixth, AJ Priaulx hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run to give PC the lead for good, as the Blue Hose topped Towson, 7-5, on Friday afternoon at the PC Baseball Complex in Clinton, S.C. The two are back at it again on Saturday with a 2 p.m. meeting at the PC Baseball Complex in game two of the season.
It was the second straight game that Priaulx has hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit home run, after going deep in the ninth inning last Sunday against Furman. He has now homered twice in just three at-bats on the season with five RBIs.
Tyler Weyenberg, Peter Johnson and Ryan Hedrick each collected two hits in the win, as PC totaled 12 as a team. Brett Auckland drew three walks and scored three times out of the leadoff spot to set the table for PC. Tanner Chock recorded a career-high seven strikeouts on the mound in his second start of the season but did not factor in to the decision.
David Sauer (1-0) earned the win in his first outing of the season, tossing a scoreless 1.2 innings in relief with no hits and just one walk against a pair of strikeouts. Hayden Deal recorded his first save of the season, tossing a scoreless ninth inning. Towson’s Dean Stramara (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in one inning work.
PC got on the board first for the fourth straight game, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Auckland drew a leadoff walk and Weyenberg followed with a bunt single to put two on with no outs. Cletis Avery would move the runners up with a groundout and Weston Jackson drove home the game’s first run with a sac fly to center.
Neither team would add a run until the fourth, when Towson tied the game at 1-1. The Tigers loaded the bases with out and after an infield fly, Clark Clatchey singled just off the fully outstretched glove of the shortstop to plate the runner from third. Avery would quickly get the ball back in, though, to assist in a 6-4-2 put out to end the inning.
The fifth proved to be a big inning for both teams, as each put a three-spot on the scoreboard. In the top half, AJ Gallo and Richard Miller each had RBI singles with one out to plate the first two runs. A wild pitch later allowed a third to score to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead. Sauer would get two of three batters he faced to end the inning and strand two.
In the bottom half, Rob Koski led off with an infield single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Colton Chapman followed with an infield single and then advanced to second on throwing error that allowed Koski to score. Auckland would then reach on an error that allowed Chapman to score from second to make it a one-run game. Weyenberg then recorded a sacrifice bunt to move Auckland to second, before a wild pitch advanced him to third with one out. Avery then recorded an RBI groundout to score Auckland an tie the game at 3-3.
PC then rallied for three more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Hedrick singled to start the inning and two batters later Priaulx nailed the go-ahead home run. Auckland followed the homer with a walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Weyenberg drove him in with a single through the left side to make it a 7-4 PC lead.
Towson got its final run on a leadoff home run by Colin Dyer in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 7-5 but would get no closer. The Tigers were led by Colin Gimblet and Miller at the plate with three hits apiece.