NCWC Pennington

N.C. Wesleyan players mob Brad Pennington, No. 6, after the senior catcher recorded the game-winning, walkoff RBI when he was hit by a pitch to bring home teammate Drifton Padgett in the Bishops’ 7-6 win over St. John Fisher in the first round of the NCAA Division III regional tournament.

The N.C. Wesleyan College baseball team wrapped up what was one of the most successful seasons in a dozen years.

NCWC lost two games over the weekend and ended its season in the double-elimination regional in Marietta, Ohio.

The Bishops were playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. Playing as the No. 3 seed, they won their first game of the tournament in walkoff fashion over St. John Fisher.

Brad Pennington was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sending Drifton Padgett (a Nash Central graduate and former Telegram batter of the year) home to score the winning run. The finish capped off five runs over the final two innings to overcome a four-run deficit.

The Bishops earned their 33rd win of the season in the process, and advanced to the second round on Saturday. There, they lost to host Marietta, 6-4, and were placed in the loser’s bracket.

NCWC made things interesting as it took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from Jackson Hobbs and Davie Morgan, after Pennington led off the inning with a double of his own.

Marietta scored twice in its half of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead, before Padgett scored on an error, and a Pennington added a sac fly to lead 4-3 in the fifth. The lead was short-lived as Marietta scored on an error, then added a two-run double in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead for good.

Padgett had three hits and a stolen base in the loss.

The Bishops then lost their second game, this one a 7-3 decision against PSU-Behrend. They kept the score close, and cut the deficit to 4-3 in the eighth inning when Padgett scored on a Pennington single and PSU-Behrend error.

NCWC allowed three runs in the bottom half of the eighth and couldn’t get any closer.

The Bishops won nine of their final 11 regular season games to advance to the regional tournament. The team’s 33 wins are the most in a single season for the Bishops since the 1999 team won 42 games and the national championship.