Cooley sizzles during Patriot debut with two Homers

Cooley sizzles during Patriot debut with two Homers

FLORENCE, SC - Junior outfielder Reese Cooley homered twice and drove in six runs to power Francis Marion University to a season-opening 7-4 win over Claflin University, Friday afternoon (Feb. 3) in the first game of the 11th-annual Carolinas Hospital Baseball Classic.

Cooley's two-out grand slam in the bottom of the seventh lifted FMU from a 4-3 deficit to the win.

Francis Marion (1-0) will face North Greenville University at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the middle of three contests that start at 11 a.m. on Cormel Field at Sparrow Stadium.

FMU freshman left-hander Garrett Wilson pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn his first collegiate win.  Senior righty Chance DuCharme made his third career start and recorded a career-high seven strikeouts before leaving in the top of the fifth inning.

Claflin reliever Chazz Walker (0-1) allowed Cooley's grand slam and was saddled with the loss.

Cooley added an infield single to his two homers as he accounted for half of the Patriots' six hits.  He became only the second Patriot to homer twice in a game at Sparrow Stadium, joining outfielder Dalton Gress who did it on March 1, 2014, in the second game of a doubleheader against Georgia Southwestern State University.

Cooley also scored the only other Patriot run that he didn't drive in -- that coming on an RBI double down the left field line by junior designated hitter William Robbins.

Third baseman Rashad Bivens and left fielder Lyndale Morley each had two hits and two runs batted in for the Panthers (0-1).  Second baseman Johnathan Parnell II had three hits and scored twice.

Cooley gave FMU a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first when he hit the first pitch he saw as a Patriot over the left field wall.  Senior second baseman Antonio Pino had walked with one out before Cooley's blast.

Claflin trimmed the lead in half on Bivens' two-out RBI single in the top of the third.  FMU regained its two-run lead in the bottom of the fourth.  Cooley led off with an infield single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Robbins' RBI double.

The Panthers plated three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.

In the last of the seventh, FMU freshman third baseman Harris White singled with one out and pinch hitter Zach Paquette walked.  after a fly out, Pino walked to load the bases and Cooley again smacked the first offering he saw over the left field wall, this time off the scoreboard.

Francis Marion benefited from a Claflin base-running error in the top of the ninth.  After a lead-off walk, Wilson snared a grounder to the mound but bounced his throw to second base allowing the runner to slide in safely.  However, the runner came off the bag and was tagged out for the first out of the frame. Wilson then induced a game-ending 4-6-3 ground ball double play.

Francis Marion Univ. 7, Claflin University 4 (Feb 03, 2017 at Florence, SC)
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Claflin University..     001 030 000  -  4  9  1      (0-1)
Francis Marion Univ. 200 100 40X  -  7  6  2      (1-0)
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Pitchers: Claflin University - Eric  Dubose; Chazz Walker (6); Dillon Parker (8) and
Johnny  Stevenson. Francis Marion Univ. - Chance DuCharme; Cole Hinnant (5); Connor Pate (5); Garrett Wilson (7) and Logan Koch.
Win-Garrett Wilson (1-0)  Loss-Chazz Walker (0-1)  T-2:37  A-583
HR FMU - Reese Cooley 2 (1).
Weather: Overcast, 51, Winds NNE 8 mph