ANDERSON, S.C. – Junior William Thomas' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning scored sophomore Jackson Strange from third with the winning run, as the Anderson University baseball team wrapped up its 2017 campaign with a thrilling 6-5 win over Erskine, Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium.
With the battle for the coveted Beville Cup already clinched in favor of the Anderson, the Trojans added another half-point to their column, while finishing the season with a 16-32 mark. Erskine fell to 25-22 on the season with its fourth straight loss and has dropped 13 of its last 14 decisions.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Freshman Dillon Carpenter reached base on a single, a double and a walk, while crossing the plate once. Senior Stephen McKnight was 2-for-4 on the night, with a double and a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Senior Avery Sneed was also 2-for-4, with a pair of singles, with junior Michael Rochester adding a two-run double.
Senior hurler Evan Small (3-1) captured the win with an inning of relief. The right-hander allowed two runs on a pair of hits in the ninth.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After three scoreless innings that saw the two teams total just a pair of singles and three total baserunners, the Trojans posted three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Carpenter led off the inning with a walk, while designated hitter Carson Barrett and Sneed followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases.
Senior Xavier Peralta then grounded into a double play, with Carpenter scoring on the play and McKnight followed by hammering his fourth home run of the season well beyond the fence in left field to give AU a 3-0 advantage.
The Flying Fleet countered with solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings, before AU capitalized on a lead-off single by Sneed and back-to-back one-out doubles from McKnight and Rochester to increase the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Erskine countered by adding another solo run in the seventh and eventually knotted the score at 5-5 on the strength of a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore Taylor Maxey in the top of the ninth.
But Strange led off the bottom of the ninth by ripping his 10th double of the season to left field and after Strange moved to third on a wild pitch, the Fleet elected to intentionally walk Tyler Miller, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Thomas, who came to the plate looking for his first base hit of the night, lifted a fly ball into right-center that was deep enough to score Strange from third base with the winning run.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Trojans out-hit Erskine, 11-6, on the night.
• The Trojans' five extra-base hits were the most since recording nine extra-base hits in the 19-3 win at Brevard and equaled the second-most of the season.
• Thomas led the team with 24 multiple-hit games on the season, including two games with five hits.
• Miller added 19 multi-hit games, with Carpenter notching 15 and Jackson Strange had 10.
• Miller ended the campaign on a 16-game hitting streak.
• Carpenter led the squad with seven multiple-RBI games.
• Miller reached base safely in the final 17 games.
• Carpenter reached base safely in each of the last 14 games.
• Thomas reached base safely in 13 of the final 14 games.