YOUNG HARRIS, GA – Francis Marion University rallied from a seven-run deficit to tie the score, but two runners left on base in the top of the ninth left the door open for Young Harris College to plate the winning run in the last of the ninth for a 10-9 Peach Belt Conference win on Friday night (March 17).
The 21st-ranked Patriots fall to 19-6 overall and 3-4 in the PBC, while the Mountain Lions improve to 7-13 and 2-5. The two squads will play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Back-up catcher Jackson Jones delivered a one-out, bases-loaded, run-scoring single to right field in the bottom of the ninth to plate the winning run. Francis Marion had runners on second and third with only one out in the top of the frame, but two ground outs ended the threat.
Patriot junior right fielder Zach Paquette was 4-for-5 at the plate with a run scored. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games, while also extending his streak of safely reaching base to 18 consecutive contests.
Senior shortstop Zach Callahan registered three hits, scored twice, and drove in three runs, while junior left fielder Reese Cooley was 2-for-5 with three RBIs and senior designated hitter Logan Koch was 2-for-4.
The Mountain Lions tallied three runs in their opening at bat. FMU countered with a two-run homer by Callahan in the second inning. Young Harris scored three times in each of the third and fifth innings to assume a 9-2 advantage.
Francis Marion scored seven times in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 9-9, with six of the runs coming with two outs. The outburst included a sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Antonio Pino, a three-run homer by Cooley (his seventh of the year), an RBI double by Callahan, and a two-run single by junior center fielder Brooks Kennedy.
Jones' hit came off Patriot reliever Cole Hinnant (2-1). Four FMU pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts, but also issued eight walks.
Young Harris reliever Zach Hopkins (1-2) got the last out in the top of the ninth and was credited with the win.
Third baseman Zach Beggs led the Mountain Lions with a 3-for-5 night that included three runs scored, two homers, and five RBIs. Left fielder Rudy Gaona was 3-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored.