COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team (24-24) out hit third-ranked South Carolina (37-11) on Tuesday night at Founders Park in Columbia, S.C. but came out on the wrong end of a 3-1 score.
Ethan Wortkoetter made his first career start for the Blue Hose in his 76th career appearance. He went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs, both solo home runs by Alex Destino, on three hits with a career-high-tying five strikeouts but suffered the loss to drop to 0-2 on the year.
South Carolina starter Taylor Widener (3-2) earned the win with 7.2 innings of one-run baseball, allowing six hits with a career-high 12 strikeouts. Reed Scott earned his second save of the season with 1.1 innings of hitless relief work to close out the game.
Weston Jackson accounted for the lone PC run of the game with a solo home run to center. It was his ninth long ball of the season and his team-leading 48th RBI of the year. Tyler Weyenberg and AJ Priaulx each had two hits, all singles, while Jacob Midkiff had the remaining PC hit in the game.
Destino led the Gamecocks, going 2-for-3 with two solo home runs to account for two of the team’s three runs. Jonah Bridge scored the other run of the game, going 1-for-3 at the plate, while Marcus Mooney and Madison Stokes each a base hit.
Wortkoetter was able to keep the South Carolina hitters off balance in the early going, facing just two above the minimum through the first three frames. Meanwhile, PC put two runners on in the second with one each in both the third and fourth innings but came up empty each time.
South Carolina broke open the scoring with their first hit in the bottom of the fourth. Destino hit his first home run of the night and his seventh of the year, a solo homer to right, to put the Gamecocks in front 1-0.
Presbyterian evened the score at 1-1 in the top of the sixth. Jackson hit a solo home run to dead center field for his ninth homer of the season and second in three games to tie the game.
Destino delivered again for the Gamecocks in bottom half of the sixth. The lefty drove it out to center for his second long ball of the game and eighth of the year to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead.
The Gamecocks extended the lead by adding a run in the seventh. A single and a walk put the first two aboard with no outs and sacrifice bunt moved them up ninety feet with one out. A balk was then called on PC’s Aaron Lesiak that allowed the runner from third to score and make it a 3-1 game. Lesiak would two fielder’s choices to end the inning with no further damage done.
PC couldn’t get anything else going offensively, though, with just one batter reaching base in the team’s final two at-bats.
The Blue Hose are back in action on Friday when they begin a three-game, non-conference series against VCU at the PC Baseball Complex.