From Francis Marion University
FLORENCE, SC – Senior right-hander Barrett Kleinknecht moved from shortstop to the mound and tossed a complete-game three-hitter as 14th-ranked Francis Marion University blanked fifth-ranked Mount Olive College 4-0 earning a split of the non-conference baseball doubleheader.
Trojan southpaw Curtis Hudson threw a six-hit shutout in the opener as Mount Olive also won 4-0.
Francis Marion, now 25-8, will play a three-game Peach Belt Conference series at Lander University this weekend, beginning with a single game on Friday at 6 p.m. Mount Olive (30-6) will open a Conference Carolinas series at Limestone College with a twin bill on Friday at noon.
Kleinknecht (2-0) was making only his second-ever start for the Patriots. He threw 93 pitches in the seven-inning contest, walking three and striking out three. It was the first time Mount Olive has been shut out in 152 games dating back to the 2007 NCAA Regional Tournament. The Trojans came into the second game averaging 13.1 runs per game, and had not scored fewer than three runs in a game this season, while reaching double figures in runs 24 times.
Kleinknecht also pitched a complete game in his only other FMU start, a 7-2 loss to USC Aiken in the 2009 NCAA Regional Tournament.
The Patriots scored twice in the second frame on an RBI-double to deep center field by catcher Logan Bland and a run-scoring single through the right side by second baseman Josh Biggers. The margin was augmented by single runs in the third and fourth frames.
First baseman Preston Shuey drove in the third run with an RBI-double to deep center field and senior right fielder Alex Lee plated the final run with an RBI-single to center.
Left-hander Craig Beasley (1-1), the first of five Mount Olive pitchers, allowed FMU's first two tallies.
The Patriots were blanked themselves for the first time in nearly two seasons by Hudson (5-1) in game one. He needed only 83 pitches as he struck out two and issued only one base-on-balls.
FMU senior righty Zane Petty (1-2) allowed three runs in five innings.
The Trojans scored three times in the fifth frame on an RBI-single up the middle by second baseman Ryan Faison and a two-run single through the right side of the infield by left fielder Jesse Lancaster. The Mount Olive advantage climbed to 4-0 when Airlon Vinson stole home in the top of the sixth inning.
Bobby Leeper, Jeremy Nowak, and Vinson all had two hits for the Trojans in game one. Vinson had one of the three hits in game two.
Biggers was 2-for-3 in game one for FMU, while Kleinknecht played his regular shortstop position and went 1-for-3. The Patriots' best scoring opportunity against Hudson came in the fourth inning, but Trojan third baseman Topher Ellis snared a bouncer in the hole and threw to second for the inning-ending force out.
Bland threw out four of six Mount Olive base runners attempting to steal on the afternoon.