ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Grant Gajdosz went 3-for-3 and drove in the winning run in the seventh inning as UNC Asheville rallied for a 7-6 victory over Murray State on Sunday and completed a three-game sweep at Greenwood Field
The Bulldogs are 3-0 for the first time since the 1993 season. Asheville rallied from an early 6-1 deficit thanks to the clutch relief pitching of freshmen Matthew Pate and Tommy Houmard. The duo allowed just one hit over the last five innings. Houmard (1-0) pitched the final four innings, striking out two and walking two to earn his first collegiate win.
Asheville had scored five times in the sixth, taking advantage to two Murray State errors to tie the game at 6-6.
In the bottom of the seventh, Danny Baatz opened the inning with a single. He stole second and then went to third on wild pitch. Gajdosz then singled to left field, scoring Baatz to give Asheville the lead for good at 7-6.
Houmard made that stand up. He pitched around two walks in the eighth and then got a diving catch from right-fielder Andy Kirkland in the ninth inning to keep the visitors at bay.
"We made some errors today that hurt us but so did Murray State," explained Asheville coach Tom Smith. "To our guys' credit, they kept battling and found a way to win the ballgame. We weren't satisfied with two wins this weekend. We wanted to get three wins."
Murray State opened the scoring in the second with four runs, all unearned off Asheville starter Eliot Criss. The Breds took advantage of two Bulldog errors to lead 4-0.
The home team got a run back in the second when Gajdosz doubled to lead off the inning. He later scored on a ground-out from Mike Vaughn.
Murray State added two more runs in the fourth to lead 6-1.
Asheville was stymied by starter MSU starter Jake Donze. The left-hander only allowed five hits before tiring in the sixth inning.
The home team started off the sixth when Patrick Koontz was hit by a pitch. Gajdosz walked to put runners on first and second. Two straight errors later in the inning helped produce two Asheville runs to make it 6-3. Beau Zinman's RBI-single cut the lead to 6-4. Catlin Carter drove in another run on a ground-out to narrow the lead to 6-5. Zinman tied the game when he raced home on a wild pitch from reliever Cameron Finch to knot the game at 6-6.
Asheville plays again this Tuesday afternoon when the Bulldogs play at UNC Greensboro at 4 p.m.