FLORENCE, SC – Senior second baseman Antonio Pino registered three hits and drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning as 18th-ranked Francis Marion University rebounded from its first loss with a 6-4 victory over Belmont Abbey College, Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 22) in non-conference baseball action.
Francis Marion improves to 11-1 and entered the NCBWA Top 25 poll released on Wednesday. Belmont Abbey, a preseason Top 25 club in the Collegiate Baseball poll, drops to 7-7.
FMU will open Peach Belt Conference play this weekend with a three-game series against Augusta University. The Patriots will host single games on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Pino finished the game 3-for-4 as did senior shortstop Zach Callahan. Junior centerfielder Reese Cooley extended his hitting streak to nine games with a pair of singles, while junior designated hitter Tee DuBose also had two hits.
Centerfielder Nick Beinlich led the Crusaders at the plate with a 3-for-5 day.
FMU junior southpaw Adam Hornstra (1-0) earned the win with 2.1 innings of hitless and scoreless relief. Freshman righty Christian Umphlett tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, before sophomore closer Cole Hinnant pitched the ninth to register his fourth save of 2017.
Hinnant did allow the potential tying runs to reach scoring position with only one out, but he fanned Beinlich and then induced first baseman Kayden Krause to fly out to leftcenter field to end the game.
The Crusaders plated a single tally in the top of the third, but FMU answered with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Junior right fielder Zach Paquette drove home the first run with an RBI groundout, before Cooley and junior catcher Williams Robbins delivered two-out run-scoring singles.
Belmont Abbey retook the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth, knocking FMU starter Arien Seymour from the mound. The key hit was a two-out two-RBI single to left by second baseman Matt McGarry.
FMU knotted the score in the fifth when Paquette walked with one out and eventually came around to score on DuBose's run-scoring single to center field.
Pino put the Patriots up 5-4 when he punched a 1-1 offering from Belmont Abbey righty Parker MacPhail (0-1) through the right side to plate Callahan. Pino scored an insurance run in the eighth frame when he came home on a two-out throwing error by the Crusaders.
FMU freshman third baseman Harris White extended his streak of having reached base safely in all 12 contests when he was hit by a pitch in the third frame.