The clutch hits are bound to come for the Piedmont baseball team, but they haven’t yet.
Piedmont left nine runners on base, including leaving the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position in the seventh inning, in a 6-5 loss to Bishop McGuinness Monday afternoon. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 2-7 overall and 0-3 in district play.
After rallying from a 6-1 deficit entering the bottom of the seventh, Piedmont had the tying and winning runs in scoring position, but Irish reliever Josh Paliotta struck out Jake Kisling to end the game. It was the last of three prime scoring chances in the game that ended in strikeouts.
“We had our four-hole hitter up three times with runners in scoring position and we don’t push any runs across,” head coach Kory Williams, who was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes, said. “But I believe in our guys and we’ll step up and get the job done.”
Williams wasn’t around to watch his team’s seventh inning rally that began with a hit by pitch and a Hunter Chism single. He was ejected an inning earlier for arguing with the home plate umpire while Piedmont starting pitcher Trevin Michael was on the mound.
“Our pitchers weren’t getting calls and I got tired of watching it,” he said. “I just went out there to let our pitchers and the team know that I had their back.”
Michael struck out nine McGuinness batters and allowed just four hits in five innings, but also committed two costly errors that led to three unearned runs.
“The Trevin we saw today is the guy I saw all last year and the guy we need to continue to have,” Williams said. “He went out there and had a bulldog mentality and went after them for five innings.”
With Williams in the locker room, Piedmont loaded the bases in its final at-bat then used two critical errors by McGuinness to plate three runs. With the Irish lead cut to 6-4, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Marshall Wallace brought the ‘Cats within a run.
Although the rally fell short, Williams hoped it would spark his team to start playing to its potential.
“Hopefully this gets us turned around and we come with the same energy and intensity we had in the dug out today, he said.”
McGuinness pitcher Joe Corbett picked up the win, pitching six innings while striking out five and allowing two unearned runs on seven hits. Corbett was the beneficiary of a pair of unearned runs that scored in McGuinness’ half of the sixth to give the Fighting Irish a 2-0 lead. Barrett Bumpass’ two-RBI single in the seventh increased that lead to 5-1. A throwing error later in the inning brought home another run.