Radford ends Blue Hose run to title
LEXINGTON – The Presbyterian College baseball team's postseason run came to an end against Radford in the Big South Championship game on Sunday,
Tournament MVP Kyle Zurak turned in a complete game performance in the Highlanders' 9-2 victory at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium.
PC finishes the season 32-29 overall to record its first winning record since moving to Division I.
Following the tournament, the Big South announced its All-Tournament team, with four Blue Hose earning a spot. Seniors Tyler Weyenberg and Hayden Deal each earned a spot to conclude their careers, while junior Nick Wise and sophomore Nick Guimbarda joined them on the squad. The four are the first players in PC history to be named to the All-Tournament team.
How It Happened
Both pitchers held the offenses in check through the first three innings, before both teams broke through in the fourth. Radford got it started with a run in the top half. Danny Hrbek led off the inning with a single, before moving to second on an error as the shortstop attempted to double him off at first on a lineout. Spencer Horwitz then doubled past the first baseman, as the ball took a nasty hop, to score Hrbek and give Radford a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Hose countered with a run in the bottom half of the fourth. Cletis Avery led off the frame with a ground-rule double to left to put a runner in scoring position. A groundout to first by Tyler Weyenberg moved him to third with Nick Wise then collecting an RBI, as the first baseman misplayed a grounder that allowed Wise to reach with Avery scoring regardless to tie the game at 1-1.
Radford busted the game open with six runs in the top of the fifth. With one out, a pair of Radford singles and a PC error loaded the bases. Jonathan Gonzalez singled through the right side to score the first run of the inning and a second PC error allowed the second run to cross the plate. Then, with the bases still loaded and one out, back-to-back two-RBI singles from Anthony Miano and Clayton Baine made it six runs in the inning for Radford, pushing the lead to 7-1.
Both teams brought home a run in the seventh. In the top half, Radford got a solo home run to right from Horwitz to put the advantage at 8-1. In the bottom half with runners on first and third and no outs, Guimbarda rolled into a double play that brought home Tyler Weyenberg to cut the lead to 8-2.
Radford tacked on one more in the top half of the ninth. Baine was hit by a pitch with one out, then stole second, and back-to-back singles by Richard De la Cruz and Luke Wise brought the run home, which turned into the eventual final score of 9-2.
Pitchers of Record
Radford hurler Kyle Zurak earned the win with a complete game, two-run performance. The righty allowed six hits and walked just one batter, while totaling nine strikeouts en route to being named the tournament's MVP.
PC reliever Ryan Hedrick suffered the loss, despite just allowing one earned run on the afternoon. The righty was tagged for six runs, five of which were unearned, on five hits in 0.2 inning pitched.
- PC finished the season with 32 wins, a Division I era record and the most by a PC team since 2000 when it won 37 games. The Blue Hose finished third in the Big South standing, its highest ever finish, and went on to make its first appearance in the Big South Championship game.
- PC's All-Tournament selections, Nick Guimbarda, Tyler Weyenberg, and Nick Wise, led the Blue Hose once again in the championship game. Guimbarda went 1-for-4 with a double to finish the tournament 8-for-20 (.400) with a pair of doubles, a homer, and three RBIs. Weyenberg was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored, to go 9-for-22 (.409) with five doubles, a homer, three runs scored, and three RBIs in the tournament. Wise went 1-for-4 with an RBI to go 6-for-17 (.353) with a homer, three runs scored, and five RBIs in the tournament.
- PC starter Connor Jahn, making his second career start, allowed just one run on three hits in 3.2 innings pitched and recorded two strikeouts against one walk.
PC Baseball Tops UNC Asheville, 6-4, for First Tourney Win
LEXINGTON – The third-seeded Presbyterian College baseball team claimed its first ever victory in the Big South Tournament with a 6-4 win over sixth-seeded UNC Asheville on Thursday afternoon at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. PC improves to 30-27 with the win, while Asheville improved to 23-31 overall.
How It Happened
Asheville got on the board in the first to claim the early lead. Carmine Pagano struck out swinging to start the game but reached on a wild pitch to put a man aboard. After two more strikeouts, Justin Woods doubled to right to bring in Pagano from first and put the Bulldogs in front, 1-0.
Presbyterian responded with lone runs in three straight innings to take the lead. Connor Slagill led off the second inning with a double to center to put a runner in scoring position. A groundout by Nick Guimbarda moved him to third, before a sacrifice fly to left by Nick Wise scored Slagill from third to tie the game at 1-1.
In the third, Tyler Weyenberg got on with a leadoff double down the right field line, before later moving to third on a wild pitch. TJ Richardson then scored him with a two-out single to center to give PC a 2-1 lead. Then in the fourth, a leadoff walk by Slagill and a two-out single by Avery put runners at the corners for Tyler Weyenberg, who singled past a diving second baseman to score Slagill and make it a 3-1 PC lead.
Asheville managed two runs in the sixth to tie the game. Joe Tietjen reached on a fielding error to start the game and Justin Wood followed with a walk to put two aboard. After a flyout to right allowed both runners to move up, Tyler Serricchio scored Tietjen with a sac fly to right and Brandon Lankford scored the other with an RBI single through the left side to tie the game at 3-3.
PC didn’t waste any time reclaiming the lead. Guimbarda led off the bottom of the sixth with his fourth home run of the season, a solo drive to right center, to put the Blue Hose back in front, 4-3.
The Blue Hose added to the lead in its next at-bat. Glen Casaceli reached on a hit-by-pitch, Brett Auckland drew a walk and AJ Priaulx walked with one out to load the bases. After a foulout for the second out, Guimbarda came through finding a whole on the right side for a single to score two and push the PC advantage to 6-3.
Asheville would not go away quietly though, scoring one in the top of the eight. Woods drew a leadoff walk, signaling the final batter of the game for PC starter Hayden Deal. Woods advanced to second on a wild pitch to move in to scoring position with no outs. Eric Miles would get a strikeout for the first out but Serricchio followed with a double to left to plate Woods and make it a 6-4 game. Miles finished the inning with two strikeouts more with a lone walk in between. Ryan Hedrick then closed it out in the ninth, striking out the side despite allowing a two-out, bad hop single up the middle.
Pitchers of Record
Deal (4-4) earned the win to even his record on the year, allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits in 7.0 full innings of work with seven strikeouts against three walks. Deal struck out the first three batters he faced in the game and went on to retire 10 straight UNCA batters at one point.
Asheville starter Spencer Orr (2-5) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings pitched with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Hedrick earned his Big South-leading 10th save of the year with a scoreless ninth, allowing a lone hit with three punchouts.
Player of the Game
Nick Guimbarda put together a nice day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a run and three RBIs in the win. The lefty-handed swinging Guimbarda hit his fourth home run of the season in to the wind in right-center field to break a 3-3 tie at the time. He also provided a big two-out single in the seventh to provide PC with a pair of necessary insurance runs.
- Tyler Weyenberg went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, a run and an RBI on the afternoon. The senior extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the fourth PC player this season to record a hitting streak of at least 10 games this year.
- First team All-Big South selection TJ Richardson continued to swing the bat, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. The catcher improved his average to .327 on the year to take over the team lead for the time being.
- The victory was PC’s first in the Big South Championship in just its third game. PC made its first ever appearance in the conference tournament last season but went 0-2.
Presbyterian will face the No. 7 seed Gardner-Webb on Friday in the winner’s bracket of the Big South Championship. First pitch is slated for 45 minutes following the first game of the day, which is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. PC claimed the regular season series over the Runnin’ Bulldogs, taking two of three games with a pair of 2-1 victories.