Crusaders outlast Patriots on baseball diamond

Crusaders outlast Patriots on baseball diamond

Story Courtesy of Francis Marion Athletics

FLORENCE, SC – Amid cold temperatures and gusting winds to nearly 30 miles per hour, 26th-ranked North Greenville University outlasted 21st-ranked Francis Marion University 11-8, Wednesday afternoon (March 15) in non-conference college baseball action.

Francis Marion (19-5) will return to Peach Belt Conference action this weekend with a three-game road series at Young Harris College. The two squads will play single games on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Senior catcher Logan Koch led Francis Marion with a pair of hits and one run driven in, while junior designated hitter William Robbins delivered the big blow for FMU with a second-inning grand slam that briefly tied the game at 5-5.

Patriot junior right fielder Zach Paquette returned to action after missing last weekend's series at Georgia Southwestern State University and went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, while also extending his streak of safely reaching base to 17 consecutive contests.

Designated hitter Josh Black and catcher Wheeler Smith both registered three hits and one RBI to pace the Crusaders (21-5).  The top two batters in the NGU line-up, center fielder Clark Scolamiero and right fielder Connor Grant, both had two hits and two RBIs.

Southpaw Kyle Kadlub (2-1), the second of six North Greenville pitchers, was credited with the victory.  He tossed 3.2 innings and allowed one run on two hits.

FMU freshman righty Christian Umphlett (3-1), the second of six Patriot hurlers, was tagged with the loss.  He surrendered an unearned run in the top of the third that snapped the 5-5 deadlock.

The North Greenville lead grew to 7-5 after five frames, but Francis Marion drew to within a run when Paquette hit a sacrifice fly in the last of the sixth.

FMU left two runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, before the Crusaders broke open the game with a four-run outburst in the top of the eighth.  Now trailing 11-6, Francis Marion tallied two runs in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI-groundout by freshman infielder Jameson Spitzmiller and a wild pitch.