Flying Fleet buzz FMU at NCAA Regional Tournament

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University

FLORENCE, SC – Senior right-hander William Buzhardt allowed only four hits in eight innings and closer Atlee Pearson ended the contest with a strikeout that left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning as 17th-ranked and sixth-seeded Erskine College downed sixth-ranked and top-seeded Francis Marion University 4-3, Thursday evening (May 13) in the third game of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.

Erskine ups its record to 41-15 and advances to face eighth-ranked and fourth-seeded Mount Olive College on Friday at 3 p.m., while Francis Marion (38-13) will face 25th-ranked and fifth-seeded Catawba College on Friday at 11 a.m. in an elimination game.

Junior first baseman John Bolding paced the Flying Fleet with a 2-for-4 night that included a run scored, a double, and a run driven in. Senior shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht was the lone Francis Marion player with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

The game featured only a combined 13 hits, 12 of which were singles.

Buzhardt (15-2) pitched into the ninth inning and allowed only one earned run. Pearson recorded his 16th save of 2010 despite allowing four base runners and a run in the final inning.

Senior lefty Josh Edgin (6-4) absorbed the loss despite a complete-game effort that saw him allow only seven hits, while fanning seven and walking only one.

Trailing 4-1 entering the last of the ninth, singles by Kleinknecht, Preston Shuey, and pinch hitter Taylor Norfleet plated one run. A second run came across to trim the margin to 4-3 when second baseman Josh Biggers walked with the bases loaded. However, Pearson retired Tyler Boyd on three pitchers to snuff out the Patriot rally.

Shuey's hit extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

Erskine took a 1-0 advantage in the second frame when third baseman Casey Winckowski beat Edgin to first base on a high chopper that pulled the first baseman away from the bag, which allowed Bolding to score.

Francis Marion loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but could managed only one run on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Chris Honeycutt.

The Flying Fleet went up 2-1 on Bolding's bloop RBI single to shallow right field in the sixth. Erskine added two more runs in the seventh on an RBI-single by catcher Matt Youngblood and a run-scoring fielder's choice grounder by Greg Huff.

Erskine slugger Bryan Fogle managed only an eighth-inning single to go with three strikeouts. He entered the game as Division II's all-time home run king (73) and is one shy of the career RBI record of 279.

FMU head coach Art Inabinet said, "We haven't played well in the three phases of the game as of late. Tonight we pitched and fielded well, but did not hit. It was too many fly balls and too many strikeouts, but give (Erskine pitcher) Buzhardt credit for that. I told the guys that someone has to come out of the losers' bracket on Sunday, and we still have the opportunity to work and make that us."