Pembroke, NC - From Francis Marion University
PEMBROKE, NC – Senior second baseman Josh Biggers had three hits, including an RBI single in the top of the 14th inning, and then moved to the mound to record a save as eighth-ranked Francis Marion University beat 21st-ranked UNC Pembroke 8-6 to gain a split of Saturday afternoon's (April 17) Peach Belt Conference doubleheader.
FMU used a pair of UNCP miscues to plate a trio of unearned runs in the top of the 14th inning to earn the game-two win, and then held off a last-gasp rally by the Braves in the bottom of the frame, as Biggers stranded the tying runs on base to earn his second save of 2010.
UNCP's Seth Kivett hit a game-tying grand slam and drove in six runs as the Braves took the opener 9-6 at Sammy Cox Field.
Francis Marion (34-10, 13-7) and UNCP (29-12, 13-10) will conclude their three-game series with a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of that contest will earn the East Division's top seed in next month's Peach Belt Tournament.
The eventful afternoon also saw Francis Marion turn a triple play in each game. Third baseman Tyler Cappelmann started an around-the-horn triple play in the second inning of game one, while first baseman Preston Shuey snagged a line-drive, stepped on first, and threw to second for a triple play in the sixth inning of game two.
Biggers, Barrett Kleinknecht, and Alex Lee all went 3-for-7 at the plate in the second game as FMU pounded out 16 hits. Kleinknecht was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, while Biggers had two RBIs. Senior outfielder Trent Knight slugged a two-run homer.
FMU closer Brandon Forshee (2-0) struck out four and allowed just four hits and one earned run in five innings of relief to grab the win for the visitors, before Biggers registered the save.
Tom Porricelli and Jason Coker each posted 2-for-6 games at the plate to pace a 10-hit attack for UNCP, which was held to just four base knocks through the first seven innings of the contest. Rudy Brown (3-3) struck out six and scattered five hits across five innings of relief work, but saddled the tough-luck loss after allowing the unearned runs in the 14th inning.
Biggers provided the first run of the game and gave Francis Marion an early lead with a RBI ground out in the second, but UNCP answered with a three-run third inning that was highlighted by run-scoring hits from Coker and Kivett.
The Patriots took a 4-3 lead on a run-scoring double by Kleinknecht and a two-run homer by Knight in the fifth, and then pushed their lead out to 5-3 on Kleinknecht's solo shot in the seventh.
Having been limited to just four hits through the first seven innings of the contest, the Braves got a pair of key safeties in the eighth, including a game-tying, two-run single by Kenny Mickens with two outs.
A scoreless chess match for the next five innings, Francis Marion got a bunt single from Kleinknecht to lead off the 14th inning, and scored the go-ahead run moments later on an ill-timed throwing error by Brown. The damage appeared to be minimal after Brown sat down the next two Patriots in order, but a second throwing error following a routine grounder led to two more insurance runs for the visitors.
In the opener, Kivett walked twice and drove in six runs on a perfect 3-for-3 tally at the plate. Kyle Mastroianni was 2-for-4 and scored twice.
Shuey belted his third home run of the season for the Patriots, who debuted at No. 1 earlier this week in the latest NCAA Southeast Region poll. Cappelmann was 3-for-4 and scored a run.
FMU reliever Patrick Mincey (3-2) took the loss for Francis Marion after allowing four runs (only one earned) on two hits and a trio of walks in 2.1 innings of relief. He also struck out four.
UNCP freshman Brantley Hattrich (2-1) recorded the final two outs in the eighth to pick up the second win of his rookie campaign for the Braves, while Brian Willis tallied his ninth save of the season with two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.
Shuey's two-out solo homer gave FMU a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and, after UNCP cut its deficit in half on a fielder's choice RBI in the fourth, pushed its advantage out to 5-1 with three more scores in the fifth.
Kivett's two-out grand slam in the home half of the fifth frame knotted the score at 5-5, but Francis Marion utilized a controversial catcher's interference call that delayed the game for more than 25 minutes to retake the lead in the sixth.