ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aaron Preston’s solo home run put Presbyterian College ahead for good as the Blue Hose held off UNC Asheville 5-4 in Big South Conference action at Greenwood Field Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (11-25, 1-9 BSC) pounded 12 hits in the game with four players getting two hits each. Tommy Houmard, Robert McIntosh, Justin Woods and Phillip Treadway all had two hits for Asheville. Ian Graham reached base for the 33rd straight game for the Dogs.
However, the home team hurt itself with four errors that helped lead the Blue Hose (19-16, 6-4 BSC) to three of its runs.
Presbyterian College got solid starting pitching from Beau Dees (5-2) who went seven innings, allowing nine hits, three runs, striking out four and walking one. Ryan Morris pitched the final two innings and earned his first save of the year as he pitched out of trouble in the ninth inning.
Asheville trailed 5-3 entering the ninth and made things interesting. Lucas Owens had a one-out pinch-hit single. With two outs, Houmard walked to put runners on first and second. McIntosh blooped a single to center, scoring Owens to cut the lead to 5-4.
With runners on first and third, Todd Joyner sent a sharply hit ground ball to shortstop that Ryan Hagan made a nice stop on. He was able to get the force-out to second and give the Blue Hose the league win.
PC opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. Preston had a one-out double. He looked to be picked off second base as Asheville starter Lucas Clarke threw to second. Preston raced for third and scored the first run of the game on a throwing error from second base.
The Bulldogs bounced back in the bottom of the first with two runs. Graham led off with a double. Houmard tripled him in to knot the game at 1-1. A sacrifice fly from McIntosh put Asheville in front, 2-1.
PC tied the game in the second. With one out, Ryan Hagan stole second and went to third on a throwing error. He then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-2.
The Bulldogs retook the lead in the third inning. Houmard walked to open the inning. A Joyner single put Houmard on third. Justin Woods’ sacrifice fly put Asheville in front 3-2.
But another error by the Dogs allowed PC to tie the game the following inning. Jay Lizanich walked. He went to second on an error by Clarke on a pick-off attempt. A wild pitch moved him to third. Hagan then grounded out to second to score Lizanich with the tying run.
PC took the lead for good in the fifth inning on Preston’s second home run of the season for a 4-3 Blue Hose lead.
They added an important insurance run in the eighth when Hagan scored Cam McRae on a sacrifice fly.
The teams will play the second game of their three-game series on Saturday starting at 2 p.m.