LEXINGTON, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team held off a ninth-inning rally by Gardner-Webb on Friday for the 7-6 victory to remain unbeaten in the Big South Championship in Lexington, S.C. PC improves to 31-27 overall and Gardner-Webb drops to 25-29 overall.
How It Happened
Presbyterian got on the board in its first at-bat to claim the early lead. With two out and no one on, TJ Richardson dropped in a single in first of the GWU right fielder. AJ Priaulx followed with his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a two-run drive just beyond the outstretch glove of the right fielder, to put the Blue Hose in front 2-0.
PC then added to its lead with a run in the second. After Nick Guimbarda singled to start the inning, Nick Wise reached on a fielder's choice that erased Guimbarda and Cletis Avery was hit by a pitch to put two on with one out. Two batters later, Tyler Weyenberg singled to center with two outs to drive in Wise from second and give PC a 3-0 lead.
Gardner-Webb tied the game in the fourth. Mickey Dugan was hit by a pitch with two outs and Peyton McGuire followed with a walk to put two aboard. Paul Trick then tied it with a three-run home run to left on a 3-2 pitch to even the score at 3-3.
The Runnin' Bulldogs then grabbed its only lead of the game with a run in the sixth. Matt Simmons led off the inning with a single through the right side. After a fielder's choice put Dugan on first with one out, Peyton McGuire doubled to left to put two in scoring position with one out. Trick then reached an error by the shortstop, as Dugan scored from third to put GWU in front 4-3.
The Blue Hose tied the game almost immediately with a run in the bottom half of the sixth. Nick Wise hit a towering solo home run to right, his sixth of the season, to make it a 4-4 game.
PC went on to score in each of its next two at-bats to regain the lead. In the seventh, Brett Auckland drew a leadoff walk to put a runner aboard for TJ Richardson. Richardson wasted no time, taking the first pitch he saw well beyond the left field fence for his second home run to the year to put the Blue Hose back on top, 6-4.
In the eighth, Avery reached on a one-out single through a big whole on the left side and then moved to second with two outs after a groundout. Weyenberg then collected his fourth hit of the game with a single off the Gardner-Webb pitcher to put runners at the corners. Auckland then delivered what proved to be the decisive run with an RBI single through the right side to score Avery and extend the advantage to 7-4 at the time.
Gardner-Webb did not go away quietly in the ninth. Collin Thacker led off the frame with a solo home run to left center to pull the Runnin' Bulldogs within two at 7-5. Danny Sullivan then drew a walk and Chandler Redmond singled up the middle to put two on with no outs. After groundout to the pitcher moved both runners up ninety feet, Matt Simmons singled to left to score Sullivan but Redmond was held at third. PC turned to Eric Miles to finish the game, who proceeded to get a grounder back to the mound and a 3-1 groundout to end the ballgame and preserve the 7-6 PC victory.
Pitchers of Record
PC reliever Will Smith (4-1) earned the victory with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief work as PC pulled back in front. The right allowed just one hit and issued a lone walk against two strikeouts on the afternoon.
GWU starter Landon Mitchell (5-5) suffered the loss, allowing six runs on 10 hits in 6.0 innings of work with two walks and five strikeouts.
Miles recorded his second save of the season, retiring both batters that he faced to end the ballgame.
Player of the Game
Tyler Weyenberg went 4-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and an RBI batting out of the leadoff spot for the Blue Hose. The four-hit game was the first by Weyenberg this season but the fifth of his career, matching his single-game career-high for hits. The senior outfielder has now recorded a hit in each of his last 11 games and has raised his batting average to .271 on the year.
- TJ Richardson recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the year, going 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs to help lead PC to the win. The righty is now 4-for-7 (.571) with three RBIs in two games in the Big South Championship.
- AJ Priaulx went 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs to record his team-leading 17th multi-game of the season. The home run was his seventh of the year, also tops on the team, to go with his now team-high 38 RBIs.
- Nick Wise hit his sixth home run of the season, one shy of the team lead, on a 1-for-4 afternoon. The lefty drove in a run and scored twice in the PC victory. Cletis Avery managed two hits in the win, while also scoring a run.
- PC recorded its first 30-win season in its Division I era with the 6-4 victory over UNC Asheville on Thursday. It was the first 30-win season for PC since 2001 when PC went 30-29. On Friday, the Blue Hose picked up their 31st win of the season, the most in a season by a PC team since 2000 when it won 37 games as member of the South Athletic Conference.
The Blue Hose now sit in the driver's seat and will not return to the diamond until approximately 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night. They will await the winner of game 10, which will feature the winner of Friday's High Point-Campbell matchup and the loser of Friday's Winthrop-Radford matchup.