Posted: Saturday, February 1st 2014 at 7:11pm
Goershel leads Piedmont to season-opening win on the diamond
By staff reports
DEMOREST -- The Piedmont College baseball team posted four straight innings with a single run to come away with a 4-2 victory in their season opener over visiting Guilford College. PC got production at the plate in the middle innings and used a strong pitching start and finish to solidify the two-run victory winning their season opener for a 4th straight season.
Taking the ball in the opener, junior pitcher Chris Goershel tossed five innings allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out four and issuing just a pair of walks. Goershel's only run allowed came in the first inning when Nathan Fulbright gapped a 1-out double to score the first run of the game and put Guilford up 1-0.
After that hit from the second Guilford batter, Goershel settled in to retire the next 11 batters he saw posting three-up, three-down innings in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Two straight hits looked to be trouble for the Piedmont starter in the 5th as he allowed the first two Quakers to reach safely including a double that put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.
Piedmont's offense early on came when freshman Griffin Olson displayed wisdom beyond his age drawing a leadoff walk in the third with his team trailing 1-0. However, a sac bunt by Evan Gresham put Olson in scoring position, a spot he would score from on the next at-bat as leadoff hitter Will Skidmore belted a 1-out double to score the youngster Olson.
Tying the game in the third, Piedmont went on to score single runs in each of the next three frames including the Piedmont 4th when the freshman Olson stepped up to help at the plate this time with an RBI driving in teammate Gresham on a two-out single. Skidmore contributed again in the Piedmont 5th when he crossed home plate to put his team up 3-1.
PC added a run in the 6th when Olson added to his freshman debut legacy scoring off another Will Skidmore RBI as the second baseman went 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two RBIs and a run scored.
The Lions donated a run back to the visitors in the 8th when it appeared Guilford may get back in the game quick scoring that run with two outs on a Piedmont error that would have ended the inning. With a runner sitting on second, relief pitcher Josh Thomas induced a groundout to get out of the inning and set up a dramatic finish for the Loudermilk faithful.
In the top of the 9th, it was time for closer Jacob Brewster in a business-as-usual mode to step in and the first two batters went as planned with Brewster sitting both down. The closer looked to have sealed the win when he struck out Tyler Peterson, but the pitch got away from Brick behind home plate, and Peterson reached on a wild pitch.
A two-out single put the go ahead run at the plate for the Quakers with Piedmont up two, but Brewster calmly caught Quaker Dan Ditota looking to strike out the final batter of the night and seal PC's 4-2 victory in the season opener. Brewster picked up the save in his first appearance of the season putting his career total now to ten, just eight away from the all-time high of 18 set by Tom Dimitroff, and Brewster is only a junior.
The win went to Goershel on the mound for the Lions while Guilford's Borja Jones-Berasaluce picked up the loss. The Quakers posted two runs on five hits with no errors while Piedmont got their four runs on ten hits collecting two errors on the day.
Piedmont's leaders at the plate included Skidmore who, from his leadoff spot, went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Left fielder Evan Gresham also had a good offensive day going two of four with a run scored. Josh Bailey, Keith Grabowski, and Michael Barnes each also picked up a hit at the plate.
The Lions got quite a day from freshman shortstop Griffin Olson in the win as the youngster, starting in his first collegiate game, went two-for-three at the plate with two runs scored and an RBI which put PC ahead for the first time in the game.
The win puts Piedmont at 1-0 and is the second straight win over Guilford in a season opening contest as the Lions got an 8-4 win last season visiting the Quakers to start 2013. Tomorrow's game with Guilford at Loudermilk Field has been moved up to a 1:00 pm first pitch due to the possibility of inclement weather in the late afternoon.
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