CLINTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team (20-18, 6-8 Big South) rallied for nine runs in its final three at-bats to top the Liberty Flames (21-20, 7-7 Big South) in a shootout, 9-7, on Saturday afternoon at the PC Baseball Complex in Clinton, S.C. PC evens the series with the victory and will look to take the series in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
PC plated five runners in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-4 lead but Liberty closed the gap with three runs in the top of the eighth. With two outs in bottom half of the eighth, Tyler Weyenberg had an RBI double to score Brett Auckland and Weston Jackson followed with an RBI triple to right center to put PC in front for the 9-7 victory.
Four different PC players recorded two hits in the victory, led by AJ Priaulx with a 2-for-5 day with a double, two runs and three RBIs. Auckland continued his strong work out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with a double, three runs and an RBI, while Jacob Midkiff was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Glen Casaceli had two hits for the second straight day and added a run in the win. Weyenberg and Jackson each had an extra-base hit, a run and an RBI.
Hayden Deal (2-1) notched the victory for PC, tossing 1.1 scoreless innings in relief and allowing just one hit with no walks. Shane Quarterley (5-2) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs on two hits with two walks against three strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief work.
Neither starter would factor in the decision but both were outstanding through much of the early going. For PC, Tanner Chock went 6.0 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits with six strikeouts against three walks. For the Flames, Jack DeGroat also went 6.0 innings and allow five runs (four earned) on six hits with three walks against five strikeouts.
Pitching controlled the first four innings of the game with neither team getting a runner past second base. Liberty broke through with one run in the both the fifth and sixth innings. The first came on an RBI double by Josh Barrick to score Josh Latta, who was hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a wild pitch. The second came around on a solo home run to left center by Will Shepheard, his second of the series, to give Liberty the 2-0 lead.
PC tied the ballgame with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. After a leadoff double by Auckland, Priaulx singled on a chopper to the right side to move him to third with an error allowing Auckland to score and Priaulx to go to second. After a walk put runners on first and second, Midkiff singled up the middle to score Priaulx and make it a 2-2 game.
Liberty pulled back in front in its next at-bat with a pair of runs. A leadoff walk and an error by the shortstop put runners on first and second with no outs, before a wild pitch moved each up ninety feet. Latta then singled past the second baseman with the infield draw in to drive in both runners and make it a 4-2 lead.
PC answered in the bottom half of the inning with a five-run at-bat. Casaceli doubled in front of a diving centerfielder to put the leadoff man aboard, before advancing to third on a passed ball. Peter Johnson pinch hit and drew a walk to put two on with no outs and Guy Casaceli would come on to run for Johnson at first. He would then be safe at second on a throwing error on a fielder’s choice to the pitcher, that allowed Glen to score from third for the first run of the inning.
Weyenberg followed with a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with one out. Liberty elected to load the bases with an intentional walk of Jackson. Priaulx then came up big with a bases clearing double deep in the right center gap to give PC its first lead of the day at 6-4. After a wild pitch moved Priaulx to third with two outs, Midkiff knocked in one more with an RBI single through the left side to put the Blue Hose in front 7-4.
Liberty proved a feisty opponent and tied the game with three runs in the eighth. A leadoff walk and a double gave the Flames runners on second and third with no outs. A wild pitch plated the first and put a runner on third with no outs. A strikeout accounted for the first out of the game but a hit-by-pitch put runners on the corners. After a steal of second base, an RBI groundout by Latta made it 7-6 with a runner on third and two outs. Two batters later, a wild pitch allowed the runner from third to score to tie the game at 7-7.
PC didn’t let the lead last, though, getting two in the bottom half. Auckland drew a two-out walk and after a Liberty pitching change, Weyenberg doubled to left center to score him from second. Jackson then hit a stand-up triple to right center to score Weyenberg and make it a 9-7 PC lead.
In the ninth, Deal got the first batter of the inning to lineout to center before hitting the second to put a runner on first. The next batter would pop out in foul territory for the second out but a few pitches later a wild pitched allowed the runner to advance to second. Deal finished off the victory with a fly out to left for the 9-7 win.
Latta had a big day for the Flames, going 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs. Shepheard was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, while Dalton Britt went 2-for-5 with a run.
The victory by the Blue Hose was its first against the Flames in the series between two that began with Big South play in 2009.