Riley's Pinch Hit Gives Bishops Sweep of Ferrum

Jason Riley

Ferrum, Va. - Freshman Jason Riley's two-run pinch hit in the top of the eighth inning gave his N.C. Wesleyan baseball team an 8-7 win over Ferrum College on Saturday afternoon, securing the Bishops' second straight league sweep. Wesleyan had previously downed the Panthers by 18-14 and 3-1 scores on Friday to take over sole possession of second place in the league standings. The Bishops, who have won seven of their last eight games, now stand at 14-7 in USA South play and are 18-18 overall.

Down 7-5 entering the seventh inning of Saturday's game, Wesleyan pulled to within one when freshman Ciro Norzagaray delivered a sac-fly to centerfield that plated junior Hayden Williams. Reliever Chase Johnson held the Panthers in check in their half of the frame, setting the stage for Riley's eighth-inning heroics.

Sophomore Stephen Machin started the rally with a one-out walk, which was followed by a Brad Guengerich single to right field. Ferrum then recorded a strikeout before a walk to Williams loaded the bases with two down. Riley promptly delivered the biggest pinch hit of his young career with a single that brought home Machin and Guengerich with the game-tying and eventual game-winning runs.

Johnson (1-0) did the rest on the mound en route to his first collegiate win, allowing just one hit in three innings of work. Justin DiSanto paced Wesleyan's offense with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate with two runs scored, while Machin tallied three RBIs.

Previously on Friday, the Bishops came out on top in game one's 18-14 affair that went 11 innings. Wesleyan held a 13-3 lead at the seventh inning stretch, but Ferrum exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the frame to pull within two and eventually forced extras after tying the game at 14-14 in their final at-bat.

In the 11th inning, the Bishops plated four runs on just one hit thanks to a pair of costly Ferrum fielding errors. The lone hit came on an RBI-triple by freshman James Kornegay.

Norzagaray (3-0) rebounded from a shaky ninth to toss three complete and pick up his third win on the hill. He gave up two runs on three hits while striking out four. Offensively, sophomore J.J. Rodriguez finished 4-for-6 at the plate with a career-high five RBIs, while Norzagaray chipped in four hits of his own.

The nightcap saw senior Jake Swartout (5-3) go 8.1 innings and give up just one Panther run on nine hits. Junior Daniel Carroll earned the save by inducing a game-ending double play on Ferrum's final at-bat. Wesleyan's freshman trio of Norzagary, James Lovett and Macon Hammond each had an RBI in the win.

The Bishops travel to Hampden-Sydney on Thursday before wrapping up the regular season with a three-game set at home with league-leading Christopher Newport next weekend. Wesleyan can still capture the 2013 USA South regular season title but needs a sweep of the nationally-ranked Captains to do so.