LaGrange, Ga. - N.C. Wesleyan's baseball team was eliminated from the 2017 USA South Tournament on Friday, suffering a pair of losses to top-seeded LaGrange and 8th-seeded Piedmont in semifinal action.
Wesleyan had previously advanced to semifinal play behind solid pitching performances from seniors Ryan Grant and T.J. Wilkie. The Bishops knocked off 6th-seeded Greensboro, 6-3, on Wednesday and 2nd-seeded Ferrum, 8-2, on Thursday. Freshman Brad Pennington and sophomore Nate Gardner led the Bishops' offensive charge by going a combined 9-for-18 at the plate with three doubles and five runs scored over the two-game span.
Friday's winner's bracket game saw the Bishops and Panthers engage in a pitcher's dual with a spot in the championship on the line. Gardner (3-3) was solid through 8.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with five strikeouts. Unfortunately, LaGrange's Richie Post was equally effective, giving up just one run over seven complete to lead the nationally-ranked Panthers to a 2-1 victory.
Forced into an elimination game versus the Lions, the Bishops fell behind 3-0 in the first and were unable to get their bats going in a 15-2 defeat. At the conclusion of the tournament, junior Caleb Narron was named to the All-Tournament team at third base after going 4-for-11 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored.
Now 24-16 overall, the Bishops will wrap up their 2017 season next Saturday at Ferrum College. The doubleheader is slated for a 1:00pm start and will feature two 7-inning games.