It took 13 innings to settle it.
The Piedmont Pride loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 13th and scored the winning run on an RBI single, spoiling the Statesville Owls’ Southern Collegiate Baseball League home opener with a 5-4 victory.
Ausar Rankin (Rockingham C.C./West Iredell) led off the bottom of the 13th with a single, and he moved into scoring position thanks to a balk. Statesville was unable to bring him home to tie the game.
Luke Orr (Newberry) hit a fly ball to right field for the first out, and then Pride catcher Joe Sibeto threw out Rankin as he attempted to steal third base. Chase Crouch (Erskine) struck out to end the game.
With the Owls trailing 4-3, Grayson Chapman (UNC Greensboro/Alexander Central) and Bo Fricks (Montreat) produced back-to-back singles to begin the bottom of the eighth. Connor Driscoll (North Greenville) reached base on a fielder’s choice. Chapman scored on the play.
The Pride (2-0), based in Rock Hill, S.C., led 1-0 after the first inning.
Orr evened the score at 1 in the second inning with his solo home run to center field.
Beau Thompson’s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Owls to seize their first lead, 2-1. Chapman immediately followed with a sacrifice fly that made it a two-run advantage for Statesville.
The Pride regained the lead, 4-3, in the top of the seventh. Aided by two Owls errors and a hit batter, they scored three runs. Tyler Estridge (The Citadel) delivered an RBI double to right field.
Estridge doubled twice in the game.
Rankin was 3 for 6. Fricks and Johnny Hummel (Erskine) each singled twice for Statesville.
Despite outhitting the Pride 11-4, the Owls slipped to 1-1. They won their season opener Wednesday in Charlotte against the Crushers, 19-15. Thompson (Newberry) belted a two-run homer in the ninth, and R.J. Conner (Catawba Valley C.C./Statesville) contributed with an RBI triple.
The Owls visit the 2018 SCBL champion Mooresville Spinners on Saturday. They’re at the Concord A’s on Monday before returning home Tuesday to host the Lenoir Oilers. All of those games feature 7 p.m. starts.