WINGATE, NC – Wingate University scored seven runs on seven hits with one costly two-out error in the bottom of the eighth inning to claim a 12-7 win over Francis Marion University, Tuesday afternoon (March 15) in non-conference baseball action.
The Patriots (15-9) will welcome in Young Harris College to Sparrow Stadium for a weekend Peach Belt Conference match-up. The three-game series will kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday (March 18). First pitch on Saturday is set for 3 p.m. and Sunday's contest will start at 1 p.m.
FMU senior righty Fernando Pinillos got the start for the Patriots but would only toss one inning as Patriots' head coach Art Inabinet threw nine pitchers in the game. Junior right-hander Zach Callahan (0-2) was tagged with the loss after tossing three innings, allowing five hits. Only one of the three runs that Callahan allowed would be counted as earned.
Wingate (16-9) received 6.1 innings from sophomore right-hander Hunter Morgan. He would be given a no-decision after allowing four runs on seven hits. Morgan also struck out six batters. The win went to senior righty Tyler Brown (3-0), who tossed 2.2 innings, allowing three unearned runs on five hits. Both pitcher's combined to strike out 10 batters without issuing a walk.
FMU sophomore shortstop Brooks Kennedy continued to swing a hot bat as he extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 3-for-5 effort in the lead-off spot. Kennedy connected on his first home of the season just two pitches into the game, giving the Patriots an early 1-0 lead. Senior designated hitter JD Crowe finished the day 2-for-5 with one RBI. Junior catcher Logan Koch went 2-for-4 at the plate and several Patriot batters registered at least one hit in the contest.
Wingate senior catcher Tyler Simmons finished 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs. Lead-off hitter Shane Billings finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI for the Bulldogs.
In the top of the third inning, junior second baseman Antonio Pino would give FMU a 2-0 lead as he plated Kennedy with a RBI-single into right center. The Bulldogs would answer back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning against junior righty Jacob Shumate. The first home run of the day for Simmons knotted the game up 2-2, five batters later the Bulldogs would take a 3-2 lead with an RBI base knock.
Wingate would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to increase its lead to 5-2.
The Patriots would chip away at the Bulldogs' lead in the top of the seventh inning, scoring five runs on five hits to make it 7-5. The scoring in the inning started with a pinch-hit RBI double by junior outfielder Chase Haas. One batter later, Kennedy would plate Haas with a RBI base hit. The go-ahead hit in the inning would come from freshman right fielder Cole Hinnant. His two-out two-run double would score Crowe and Pino to give FMU a two-run cushion.
Wingate used their home-half of the eighth inning to rally back one final time and eventually take the lead for good. A two-out throwing error would allow the tying run to score and would be followed by a double from Bradley Brown that brought home the go-ahead run. Leading 9-7, Simmons would hit his second long-ball of the game to increase the Bulldogs lead to 11-7 and add some extra insurance.