FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University junior right-handed reliever Austin Hawley pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and five Patriots recorded two hits apiece as FMU claimed a 10-6 victory over 24th-ranked Flagler College, Saturday afternoon (March 25) in Peach Belt Conference baseball action.
With the win, FMU (21-9, 5-6) evens the weekend series with the Saints (20-11, 8-3) at one game apiece. The rubber contest will be held Sunday at 1 p.m. on Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium.
Hawley (4-2) entered Saturday's game in the top of the fourth inning after a grand slam by Saints third baseman Ja'Kobi Dasher had trimmed the FMU advantage to 9-6. Hawley allowed only four singles and one walk over the next 5.2 frames. He struck out three batters.
After two Flagler batters reached in the top of the ninth inning, Patriot freshman righty Christian Umphlett relieved Hawley and fanned Saints first baseman Igor Baez to end the game and record his first collegiate save.
Trailing 2-0 after the top half of the first inning, Francis Marion immediately answered with a pair of runs to knot the contest. The Patriots then batted around in the bottom of the second, scoring five times to take a 7-2 lead. Run-scoring singles by junior first baseman Trey Chapman and junior designated hitter Reese Cooley, an outfield fielding error, and a two-run double by junior left fielder William Robbins accounted for the five tallies.
The Patriots added two runs in the third on an RBI fielder's choice by Cooley and a throwing error to assume a 9-2 lead.
After the first three Flagler batters singled off FMU freshman starter Garrett Wilson to open the fourth, Dasher's long ball down the left field line trimmed the FMU lead to 9-6 and set the table for Hawley to enter.
Francis Marion did answer with a single run in the bottom of the fourth frame to go on top 10-6. Chapman's RBI double to right field accounted for the final run, plating senior second baseman Antonio Pino, who had earlier legged out an infield single to extend his streak of safely reaching base to 24 consecutive games.
The five Patriots to register multiple-hits games were junior third baseman Brooks Kennedy (2-for-4), freshman center fielder Connor Howell (2-for-5), senior catcher Logan Koch (2-for-5), Robbins (2-for-3), and Chapman (2-for-4).
Flagler right fielder Jake Hathaway was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Sophomore southpaw Nick Martinez (1-2), the second of four Flagler pitchers, was saddled with the loss.