ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Joe Zayatz connected on a pinch-hit walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lead host UNC Asheville to the win in the series finale against Charleston Southern on Sunday afternoon, 2-1.
The Bucs (16-14, 5-7) evented the score in the top of the ninth on Michael Sconzo's RBI single scoring Ryan Brown, but it was not enough to hold off the Bulldogs (13-18, 4-5) as Asheville took the final game of the series.
CSU's bats were the headline of the series after plating 10 and 19 runs respectively in the first two games, but the Bucs were unable to get the offense going until late against UNC Asheville starter Spencer Orr.
Orr went 7.0 innings and allowed two hits and one walk while striking out nine in the no-decision. Asheville reliever Eric Whitecavage (2-0) picked up the win with two innings' relief allowing an unearned run while striking out a pair.
CSU's Tyler Weekley and Daniel Johnson nearly proved the Bulldogs' equals on the rubber on Sunday afternoon with the CSU duo combining for 14 strikeouts while allowing five hits over the first 8.2 innings. Weekley went the first five innings allowing four hits and an unearned run while striking out six.
Johnson, the reigning Co-Big South Pitcher of the Week, entered in the sixth and struck out four of the first six batters he faced on his way to striking out eight in 3.2 inning's action. He was lifted with two on in the bottom of the ninth and Zayatz connected on the game-winning single off of CSU reliever Cody Smith to seal the win.
The Bucs were limited to four singles in the contest, but CSU was active on the base paths. Jason Miller recorded a pair of steals in the game and Chris Singleton added his team-leading 11th stolen base in the contest in the loss.
Asheville took the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third as Kyle Carruthers took advantage of a CSU passed ball to move into scoring position before Danny Wilson's RBI single back up the middle brought him home.
Miller put the Bucs in scoring position in the fourth after drawing a one-out walk. He swiped second on a strikeout, and then stole third with two outs to put the tying run 90 feet away. However, Orr shut down the threat with the final out to end the inning.
CSU pushed the tying run across in the top of the ninth. Brandon Gragilla connected on a one-out single to put the first runner on base. He was lifted for pinch-runner Ryan Brown who advanced to third on an error. Sconzo followed with an RBI single to centerfield to tie the game up.
Johnson retired the first two Bulldogs in the bottom of the ninth before Chris Troost reached on a single. Andrew Friedholm drew a walk to put two on and brought Smith out of the bullpen. Zayatz followed with the game-winning single on the 1-1 pitch to end the contest.
Charleston Southern continues play on the road this week as the Buccaneers travel to Clemson University and Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.