No. 5 Patriots weather half of the storm

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University

FLORENCE, SC – Freshman right-hander Don Sandifer extended his unbeaten streak to six games and senior designated hitter Taylor Norfleet was 2-for-3 with three runs batted in as fifth-ranked Francis Marion University beat Georgia Southwestern State University 9-3 in the opener of Saturday's (April 24) Peach Belt Conference doubleheader.

However, the Hurricanes earned a split with a 9-4 victory in game two as designated hitter Trent Dooley was 2-for-3 and drove in three runs.

Francis Marion ends its regular season with a 38-11 overall mark, equaling the second-most wins ever for a Patriot squad.  FMU concludes PBC play with a 16-8 mark and will enter the PBC Tournament as the East Division's top seed.  The Hurricanes will likely be the Patriots' opening-round opponent in the tournament on May 8.

GSW (26-18, 12-12) plays at the State University of West Georgia on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

In the opener of the Senior Day twinbill, Sandifer (6-0) allowed only three runs on six hits in seven innings.  Senior righty Erik Sommerville finished up with two scoreless innings.

Norfleet gave FMU an early lead when he hit an 0-2 pitch for a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the first. After GSW trimmed the margin to 2-1 in the third on a solo homer to left by shortstop Kevin Carroll, FMU scored four times in the fourth.

Sophomore outfielder Tyler Boyd delivered his second run-scoring single in as many innings to push the Patriot advantage to 7-1 in the fifth.

FMU senior shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht was 3-for-4 , while seniors Alex Lee, Logan Bland, and Josh Biggers all had two hits.  First baseman Preston Shuey was 2-for-4, including a two-run homer in the eighth, to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

Center fielder Chris Lingham was the lone Hurricane with two hits in the opener as he went 2-for-4 and scored once. Senior right-hander Chris Carroll (3-1) suffered his first loss of 2010 as he surrendered six runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings.

In the second contest, GSW recorded 12 hits and took advantage of five walks and three Francis Marion errors.  The Hurricanes chased Kleinknecht (5-1) from the mound in the fourth inning as he suffered his first loss of the season.  He entered the game with an 0.91 earned run average, having allowed only one run and 13 hits over his past 29.2 frames.

GSW junior Jody Sellers (6-4) earned the win, while righty Brandon Reeder pitched 3.1 scoreless frames to garner his second save of the year.

Patriot senior Bucky Wells, making his first career start at first base, went 2-for-4 and accounted for two of the Patriot runs with a first-inning sacrifice fly and a third-inning solo home run.  Kleinknecht was 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in a run, while senior center fielder Graham Couch was 2-for-3 with a run scored, and junior infielder Tyler Cappelmann was 2-for-5.

Lingham concluded his productive afternoon with a 3-for-5 outing in game two that included two runs scored and saw him come within a homer of hitting for the cycle.  In addition to Dooley, Bud Long, Zack Stanton, and Beau Parker all registered two hits in the second contest.  Long also drove in two runs.

Trailing 1-0, GSW scored three times in each of the third, fourth, and sixth innings.