Longwood baseball wins series, starts preparing for Winthrop

Published 9:24 pm Sunday, May 14, 2023

Gregory Ryan Jr. was a holy terror at the plate on Sunday afternoon for Longwood baseball.

 Ryan racked up four hits, including a grand slam, and the Lancers (22-29, 10-14 Big South) took down Presbyterian (19-33, 10-14 Big South) 12-6 in the final game of a three-game set to win the series.

Breaking down Sunday’s game

The two sides traded runs back and forth early on, but Ryan and the Lancer offense cracked the game wide open in the eighth inning with one big swing.

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The score was all tied at six, and Longwood loaded the bases with one out. Eliot Dix drew a walk to give Longwood a 7-6 lead, and then Ryan added the fireworks. He punished a ball by swatting it over the right-center field wall for an opposite field grand slam. Luis DeLeon then immediately clobbered the very next pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run of his own, and the Lancers put the game to rest with a 12-6 lead.

While the grand slam was the exclamation point, Ryan and the top of the Longwood order played a major factor all game long. The way that Ryan swung the bat, the combination of Dylan Wilkinson, Hayden Harris and Dix just needed to get on base. They did.

The trio combined for four hits, three walks and four hit by pitches to ensure the bases were full of Lancers for Ryan, the new Big South leader in RBI with 62. He drove in runs in four straight plate appearances while finishing a double short of the cycle. His seven RBI were one short of the team’s single-game record set back in 1989 by Mark Moeller.

Blue Hose take early lead

The Blue Hose took an early three-run lead, but the Lancers stormed back. Ryan tripled home Dix for Longwood’s first run in the fourth, and Drew Camp pumped out a double two batters later to cut it to 3-2. Ryan then tied the game with an RBI single in the fourth, but Presbyterian retook the lead 5-3 in the sixth.

 The Lancer offense wasn’t done though. The top of the order loaded the bases, and Ryan drew a walk. Luis DeLeon slipped a single through the left side to tie the game up, and a wild pitch gave Longwood its first lead at 6-5 a few batters later.

The Blue Hose answered with an RBI double from Brody Fahr to tie it back up at six, but Dominick D’Ercole came on in relief and wiggled out of a two-on, two-out jam.

That set the stage for Longwood’s offensive eruption in the eighth that secured the win.

D’Ercole (2-1) earned the relief win for Longwood. He retired seven of the nine batters he faced, with only an intentional walk and one hit on his ledger against a pair of strikeouts.

Tanner Smith (1-4) took the loss for Presbyterian. The Blue Hose used four pitchers in the fateful eighth inning.

Longwood baseball notes from the series

  • The Longwood baseball team scored 12 runs for the second time in three games.
  • The Lancers earned their first series win over Presbyterian since 2014, and it was the team’s first series win in Clinton, South Carolina.
  • Longwood is still undefeated when scoring 10 or more runs this season. The team is 11-0.
  • Ryan had his 15th multi-hit game and his 16th multi-RBI game. He set a career best with 7 RBI, and it was his third time with five or more RBI in a game this season.
  • Ryan hit his team-best 13th home run of the season.
  • DeLeon hit his fourth homer of the year.
  • The top of the Lancer order (Wilkinson, Harris, Dix) combined to score seven runs, and Ryan also scored three runs in addition to his seven RBI.
  • DeLeon added three hits on the day and was second on the team with two RBI.

Coming up next for Longwood baseball

Longwood returns home to host Winthrop for a three-game series that begins on Thursday, May 18 at 6 p.m. Friday, May 19, the two teams will play at 6 p.m. as well, and Saturday, May 20, the finale is set for 2 p.m. All three games will be aired on ESPN+.