LAURINBURG, N.C.- The St. Andrews University Baseball team clinched a huge AAC series win on Sunday over their in-state rival Montreat College (N.C.) as SAU rallied from a four-run deficit to stun the Cavs 9-8 for the second straight day and pick up their 20th overall win. St. Andrews baseball has now recorded five straight 20-win seasons, all in the NAIA era.
Game 3: SAU 9, Montreat 8 (9 innings)
SAU began the bottom of the ninth trailing 8-4 but would go on to put together a thrilling rally by sending nine men to the plate with senior catcher Matt Polak (SR/Smithfield, VA) driving in the winning run on an RBI double on a ball he sent over the head of the Montreat CF.
The inning began with senior SS Tiger Miller (SR/Pleasant Garden, NC) singling to center with one out and advancing to 2nd on a passed ball. After freshman Lee Poteat (FR/Salisbury, NC) walked, an RBI single from senior outfielder Terrence Jackson (SR/Creswell, NC) then drove in Miller with the 5th run. A walk to junior outfielder Ryne Dickens (JR/Reidsville, NC) preceded a RBI single from senior DH Justin Williams (SR/Stanley, NC) as his pop fly to right field was lost in the sun by the Montreat outfielders. Then, still with one out, freshman 3B J.R. Polak (FR/Smithfield, VA) would hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the 7th SAU run before senior 1B Trey Byrd (SR/Sophia, NC) tied the game with an RBI single driving in Dickens before Polak's heroics won the game.
A Dickens two-run double had first given SAU a 4-3 lead after three innings, but Montreat tied it at 3 an inning later. MC would then score four runs off freshman reliever Davis O'Brien (FR/Kernersville, NC) in the 6th inning to lead 7-3 as they seemingly thought they would cruise to a win. SAU now improves to 15-8 at home this season.
The Knights finished the game with 7 different players recording at least one hit while 7 also drove in runs led by multi-RBI games from Jackson and Dickens while Miller led with three hits as he went 8 for 13 on the week to hit .615 including 3 for 5 in this game. Also recording multi-hit games were Jackson, DH Justin Williams, and M. Polak with two doubles.
Sophomore starter Holden Drake (SO/Burlington, NC) ended up tossing 4.1 innings allowing 7 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 walks and 4 Ks while junior reliever Zach Saylor (JR/Jamestown, NC) threw 3.1 innings allowing just one run to keep SAU in the game. Junior Austin Sisley (JR/Covington, WA) (2-2) then picked up the win as he got the final two outs in the top of the 9th.
St. Andrews improves to 20-24 overall and 6-12 in the conference moving them into a tie with 8th place Truett-McConnell. Montreat falls to 11-25 overall and 2-16 in the AAC.
SAU will remain home to host Truett McConnell (Ga.) on Thursday at 3 p.m. before playing them in a doubleheader on Good Friday at Noon.