The baseball teams representing Presbyterian College and the University of North Carolina at Asheville faced darkness on the edge of town with Bruce Springsteen nowhere in sight.
With the sun setting – and Eric Toth pitching the final 5-2/3 innings – the Blue Hose outlasted the Bulldogs 5-4 in 14 innings on Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Another hero was center fielder Kyle Decker, who led the PC offense with 4 hits. Decker, a junior from Fletcher, N.C., has hits in each of his last five games.
The game, which started at 3 p.m., lasted 4 hours, 25 minutes. It was the first Blue Hose contest to exceed four hours since April 27, 2019, when PC outlasted Pittsburgh 9-7 in 12 innings. The contest with the Panthers went 4:20. The game was PC’s longest since Feb. 21, 2016, when PC and Furman went 11 innings and played for 4:30. Fourteen innings matched the program record for the longest game in terms of innings played as PC played two other 14-inning contests, most recently on March 16, 2015, against Gardner-Webb.
Zacchaeus Rasberry, Jake Wyandt and Kyle Merkle each had 2 hits for Presbyterian (6-10, 5-5 Big South).
Third baseman Brandon Lankford and center fielder Wade Chandler each had 2 hits for UNC Asheville (8-14, 7-10).
Losing pitcher Jay Allmer (0-2) was the 11th and final hurler to take the mound for the Bulldogs. Toth (2-1) was the fifth to pitch for the Blue Hose. Toth allowed a run and struck out a pair.
In the 14th inning, Brody Fahr reached on an error. Another miscue allowed him to score the winning run all the way from first base on Rasberry’s misplayed bunt.
The Blue Hose remain at home on Friday and open a 3-game weekend set with Radford, beginning at 3 p.m. The series wraps on Saturday at 11 a.m. with a doubleheader against the Highlanders.