Clark Delivers as Wesleyan Upsets #23 Shenandoah

Tyler Clark
Tyler Clark

Rocky Mount, N.C. - Junior Tyler Clark drove in the game-tying run in the 9th and game-winning run in the 11th to lift his North Carolina Wesleyan baseball team to a 2-1 upset of #23 Shenandoah on Sunday afternoon at Bauer Field. The victory secured a USA South split with the Hornets, who had previously taken Saturday's opener by a 5-0 score.

Sunday's game saw SU take a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out RBI-single by Nick Beall. It would be a pitcher's dual from there as NCWC starter Kaleb Wessell and SU hurler Cory Nelson matched each other pitch-for-pitch through the middle innings.

Down 1-0 in their last at-bat, the Bishops' Andre Nichols was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an infield single by Jake Alexander. With two outs, Clark hit a high bouncer up the middle that was gloved by SU shortstop Kurt Krout in shallow center, but he was unable to gun down Nichols at the plate with the tying run.

In extras, the Hornets (11-5, 4-2 USA South) had runners in scoring position in both the 10th and 11th innings, but reliever Jake Swartout shut the door both times, setting the stage for Clark's heroics.

Freshman William Johnson led off the 11th with a single to center and pinch runner James Johnson advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Nichols was intentionally walked, which was followed by another infield single by Alexander to load the bases. Clark then stepped in and delivered a single to left to plate Johnson with the game-winner.

Wessell received a no-decision, scattering five hits and striking out five over 8 2/3 innings. Swartout (2-1) earned the win in relief after tossing 2 1/3 scoreless frames. Nelson (1-3) suffered the loss for SU despite his solid 10 1/3 innings of work. 

On Saturday, the Bishops' Brandon Roberts (3-2) allowed just two earned runs on four hits, but Hornet starter Vince Claudio (4-0) shut the door on Wesleyan's offense with a five-hit shutout. Clark was 3-for-3 at the plate.

Wesleyan (11-13, 2-4 USA South) returns to action on Thursday when the Bishops host Albertus Magnus. First pitch is slated for 3:00pm at Bauer Field.