The Presbyterian College baseball team exploded for 12 runs in its first three at-bats on Friday en route to a 13-1 victory over High Point in game one of the series at the PC Baseball Complex.
PC improves to 21-19 overall and 9-4 in the Big South, while the Panthers drop to 20-17 overall and 7-9 in the Big South.
How It Happened
The Blue Hose had the bats going early, scoring three runs in the first, four in the second and five in the third. In the first, Glen Casaceli reached on an error by the shortstop to lead the off the inning. Tyler Weyenberg was then hit-by-pitch and Cletis Avery reached on a bunt single on an attempted sacrifice, loading the bases with no outs. After a strikeout, Connor Slagill plated the game’s first run with a sac fly to left to score Casaceli from third and make it a 1-0 game. Nick Guimbarda added to the lead with an RBI single to right center, scoring Weyenberg to push the lead to 2-0. Then, with runners at the corners, Guimbarda stole second and drew a throw from the catcher that allowed Avery to score from third to make it 3-0.
PC kept its foot on the gas in the second, as Andrew Bladt reached on a bunt single to lead off the inning. Casaceli then singled to right and moved to second on a throw with Bladt going to third to put two in scoring position with no outs. Weyenberg drove them both in with a double to left to make it a 5-0 game, still with no outs in the inning. Avery moved Weyenberg to third with a sac bunt for the first out and Priaulx followed with a sacrifice fly to right score Weyenberg and make it 6-0. Slagill then hit his second home run of the season with a drive to left on the first pitch to give PC a 7-0 advantage.
Presbyterian kept the sequential numbers going in the line score, sending five across in the third. Thatcher Coleman led off the inning with his first home run in a PC uniform, driving a ball down the left field line and out to push the lead to 8-0. High Point retired the next two batters with a strikeout and a popout for two outs but PC wouldn’t go quietly. Casaceli recorded his second hit of the game with a single to right center and Weyenberg followed with a walk to put two aboard. Andrew Heinz came on in relief for High Point and Avery greeted him with a two-RBI double to right to score both runners, putting PC up 10-0. Priaulx followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Avery, making it 11-0. After Priaulx moved to third on a wild pitch and Slagill walked to put two aboard, Guimbarda came through with another RBI single to put the margin at 12-0.
High Point got its lone run in the sixth. The Panthers loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the inning. A shallow flyout to right accounted for the first out without allowing the runners to advance, but a fielder’s choice by Hunter Lee brought home Tim Mansfield from third to get HPU on the board and make it 12-1. A flyout to center ended the inning and HPU’s best scoring threat of the day.
PC tacked on one more run in the eighth, coming on a solo home run by Coleman. It was his second of the day and the season and gave PC the eventual final score of 13-1.
Pitchers of Record
Brian Kehner (4-2) earned the victory with another strong outing, as the lefty went 6.0 innings and allowed just a lone run on six hits with two strikeouts against no walks. Kehner continues to prove stingy with runs, holding a 1.51 ERA in conference play, having allowed one run or fewer in three of his five starts against Big South foes.
Jeremy Johnson (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work.
Russ Branch earned his first career save despite the score, working effectively in the final 3.0 innings of the game. The righty held the Panthers without a run while allowing just a lone with two strikeouts against two walks and two hit batters.
Player of the Game
Thatcher Coleman hit the first two home runs of his career in a PC uniform, going deep to left twice in the contest. The right-handed hitter hit a solo home run to lead off the third and followed it up with a solo home run in the eighth to cap off the victory. He is the first PC player to hit two long balls in a game since Ryan Hedrick do so last season at UNC Asheville on April 2.
- Glen Casaceli extended his reached base streak to 20 straight games, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored out of the leadoff spot. The righty is now batting .309 on the season and now has a hit in each of his last seven games.
- Connor Slagill hit his second home run of the season with a solo shot in the second inning. The righty finished 1-for-2 with a run and two RBIs.
- PC totaled 13 runs on 16 hits in the contest. The 13 runs are tied for the most in a Big South contest in PC history. The Blue Hose also scored 13 runs in a win over UNC Asheville last season. The 16 hits are fourth-most by the Blue Hose in a conference game and most since totaling 17 hits against Liberty last season.
- All nine starters in the lineup for PC managed a hit in the victory. The top three in the order of Casaceli, Weyenberg and Avery combined to go 7-for-12 (.583) with eight runs, two doubles and four RBIs.
PC and High Point will wrap up the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. at the PC Baseball Complex with approximately 45 minutes between the two games.