Wilson, N.C. / Zebulon, N.C. - North Carolina Wesleyan's baseball team edged Maryville College by a 2-1 score on Saturday afternoon at Five County Stadium in the rubber match of their USA South Spring Sports Festival series. The two squads had previously split a pair of games on Thursday and Friday at Wilson's historic Fleming Stadium.
The Battling Bishops (13-20-1, 10-13 USA South) broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning after senior Tyler Clark drew a walk, stole second, and eventually came around to score on freshman Kani Upshur's two-out double. Maryville (14-17, 9-12 USA South) appeared as though it was going to get out of the inning without any further damage, but Upshur hustled in to score on a dropped pop-up in the infield grass to put the Bishops ahead 2-0.
That extra run proved to be crucial as Maryville's Zack Blonder led off the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run to left field. Although he lost the shutout, Bishop starter Will Beasley (3-4) got the final three outs in the ninth to notch the complete-game victory. Beasley struck out seven and allowed just one run on six hits. Offensively, sophomore Ciro Norzagaray went 2-for-4 at the plate to finish with half his team's four hits.
Previously in Thursday's series opener, the Bishops spotted MVC an early two-run lead, then came back for a 5-3 win. Sophomore Jason Riley's two-run single in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie. Freshman Ryan Grant (2-0) went seven innings to get the win, giving up three runs but only one earned. Robert Mondoux threw a scoreless eighth, and Dillon Moore retired the Scots in order in the ninth for his second save of the season.
In Friday's game two, Maryville managed to avoid the sweep with a 10-9 victory. The Scots held what seemed to be a comfortable 10-5 advantage entering the bottom of the ninth, but three consecutive walks on a combined 13 pitches helped ignite a Wesleyan rally. The Scots forced a pair of pop-ups to hold the Bishops at bay, but back-to-back-to-back RBI-singles by Luis Palencia, Norzagaray, and J.J. Rodriguez pulled NCWC to within one and put the tying and winning runs on base.
Unfortunately, Maryville right-hander Joe Jones came in to record a strikeout, ending the game and earning him his first save. Maryville's offense totaled 16 hits, while NCWC had 15, including three each by Hayden Williams and Palencia.
The USA South series win is the fourth straight for the Bishops, who will wrap up their regular season slate next weekend at league foe LaGrange College.