From Francis Marion University
SAVANNAH, GA - Armstrong Atlantic State University scored a pair of second-inning runs and go on to edge ninth-ranked Francis Marion University 2-1, Sunday afternoon (March 14) in the first game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series.
The Pirates (16-4, 1-0 PBC) won their league opener while handing Francis Marion (15-5, 1-3 PBC) its third league loss. The two teams wrap up their PBC series with an 11:30 a.m. doubleheader on Monday at Pirate Field.
AASU struck for its only runs in the second inning as the Pirates touched FMU senior right-hander Erik Sommerville (4-1) for four hits in the frame, including back-to-back RBI singles from Auston Thomas and Drew Walker.
Sommerville settled down afterwards, however, allowing just one more hit in his six innings pitched, and Francis Marion pitching overall gave up just two more hits in the game.
Francis Marion's lone run came in the top of the sixth inning, courtesy of a solo home run by senior shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht.
Pirate starter Thomas Gray (3-1) would hurl seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball, striking out five and would exit the game with the 2-1 lead intact in the eighth inning. AASU reliever Ryan Smith allowed a pair of hits to begin the eighth inning, but would induce a fly out by Kleinknecht, a fielder's choice by Preston Shuey, and then struck out Jacob Wallace looking to end the threat.
Smith then worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the victory and pick up his first save of the season.
Francis Marion was led by senior right fielder Alex Lee's 3-for-4 day at the plate. Sommerville took the hard-luck loss for the Patriots, giving up five hits and two runs, walking two and striking out six in six-plus innings pitched.