ASHEVILLE, N.C. – UNC Asheville put together a five-run eighth inning to push past Presbyterian College, 7-4, on Friday night at Greenwood Field in Asheville, N.C. in game one of the three-game series. The two are back in action on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
Weston Jackson led the Blue Hose with a 2-for-3 night with a walk, a double, a run and two RBIs. Tyler Weyenberg went 2-for-4 with a double and a run, batting in front of Jackson. His hitting streak, already the PC Division I record, now stands at 20 consecutive games. Brett Auckland added two hits, including a triple, for his sixth multi-hit game of the year.
Tyler Hughes (1-1) earned the win in relief, tossing an inning with two runs on three hits. Hayden Deal (1-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on four hits out of the bullpen.
PC starter Brian Kehner returned to form in his seventh start of the year, tossing 5.1 innings with just two runs allowed on five hits with seven strikeouts against two walks but received a no decision. UNC Asheville starter Jordan Fulbright also put together a strong start, going 7.0 innings and allowing two runs on five hits with two walks against seven strikeouts.
PC got on the board first with a run in the top half of the second inning. Jacob Midkiff doubled to center with one out and later moved to third on a wild pitch. Rob Koski drew a walk to put runners on the corners and Colton Chapman brought Midkiff across with a well-placed sacrifice bunt to the pitcher to put PC up 1-0.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back singles and a walk. Kehner would work his way out of the jam with back-to-back to strikeouts to leave the bases full. From there, the lefty would retire the next seven batters he faced, including four via the strikeout.
UNC Asheville broke through in the fifth inning. Justin Wood led off the inning with a single to right. Two batters later, after a strikeout and a fly out, Pete Guy doubled to deep centerfield to score him and tie the game at 1-1.
The Blue Hose responded with a run in its next turn at the plate. Jackson led off the sixth with a double to left to get it started. He would move to third on a groundout by Johnson to put him 90 feet away with just one out. Midkiff then came through for PC with an RBI sacrifice fly to center to plate Jackson and make it a 2-1 PC advantage.
The Bulldogs got a run in the bottom half of the inning to re-tie the game. Joe Tietjen led off the inning with a double in the left-field corner to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. A sac bunt moved him to third and an error allowed him to come home to tie it at 2-2.
The big inning for PC came in the eighth. Avery led off with a single and Weyenberg singled on an attempted sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs. Jackson then ripped one in to the right-center gap for a two-RBI double, his 12th of the year, to score both Avery and Weyenberg to put PC in front 4-2.
However, UNC Asheville rallied for five runs in the bottom half of the eighth. Kyle Carruthers plated the first run with an RBI double to left center to score one and put runners at second and third with one out. After a strikeout and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with two outs, Erik Connolly tied the game with an infield single. Derek Smith provided the go-ahead runs with a two-run single to right and Guy tacked on one more with an RBI single to right.
Carruthers led the Bulldogs by going 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, while Guy was 2-for-5 with two runs driven in. Tietjen and Wood each scored twice to account for four of UNCA’s seven runs.