FLORENCE, SC – Keyed by a two-out, full-count, two-run single by senior outfielder Cole Griesinger, Francis Marion University scored 11 runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally for a 12-3 win over Armstrong State University and a sweep of Sunday's (April 2) Peach Belt Conference baseball doubleheader. A three-run triple by junior Brooks Kennedy highlighted a five-run seventh-inning rally that lifted FMU to a 7-5 victory in game one.
Francis Marion improves to 25-11 with its fourth straight win and the Patriots move into seventh place in the PBC standings with an 8-7 record. The Pirates fall to 14-18 and 0-12.
FMU will play host to Saint Augustine's University on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Kennedy finished the twinbill a combined 4-for-8 with four runs scored and three driven in. Senior Logan Koch caught all 18 innings and finished 4-for-9 with two runs scored and five RBIs, while extending his hitting streak to eight games and 19 of his last 20. Koch stroked a key RBI single off an 0-2 pitch that preceded Kennedy's three-bagger in the opener's seventh inning.
Sophomore southpaw Arien Seymour (2-0) got the final out of the top of the eighth inning in game two, leaving the bases loaded, and earned the win after the 11-run outburst.
Griesinger, who entered the day 0-for-6 at the plate this season, batted a second time in the eighth inning (of game two) and added an RBI-infield single. FMU totaled seven hits and used three Pirate errors and three walks to tally the 11 runs and rally from a 3-1 deficit.
In the opener, Armstrong State took a 3-0 lead off Patriot starter Austin Hawley after two innings. FMU plated a pair of runs in the last of the third to narrow the deficit to 3-2 as Koch lined a two-out, two-run single through the left side.
The Pirates added a pair of runs in the top of the seventh – on a two-run single by right fielder Caleb Slaughter – and looked poised to earn their first conference win, before Francis Marion scored five times in the bottom of the frame.
Sophomore outfielder Cole Hinnant led off with a single and moved to third on a double into the left field corner by junior Reese Cooley. After a foul out, Koch plated Hinnant with a single through the right side. A walk loaded the bases, and Kennedy followed with his 3-run triple into the right center field gap with the ball rolling all the way to the wall. Kennedy later scored on senior second baseman Antonio Pino's RBI groundout.
Freshman reliever Christina Umphlett (5-1) was the beneficiary of the game-one rally and was credited with the victory after allowing only one earned run on four hits in 3.2 innings. He retired six of the final seven batters he faced after the seventh-inning outburst.
Cooley has now reached base safely in 18 straight contests.
Armstrong State starter Tanner Hall (3-2) was tagged with the loss after throwing 121 pitches and surrendering seven runs (5 earned) on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Slaughter finished the afternoon with four hits to lead the Pirates in the two games.
The Patriots took a quick 1-0 advantage in the opening frame of game two as Kennedy reached on a fielding error and later scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Koch. However, the Pirates scored single tallies in the second, fourth, and eighth innings to claim a 3-1 lead as FMU came to hit in the last of the eighth.
FMU freshman starter Sam High registered the longest outing of his young career, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings. He fanned five and walked only two.
Griesinger's first hit knotted the game at 3-3. Koch followed with a run-scoring single up the middle to put FMU on top 4-3. A pair of dropped fly balls and a misplayed base hit allowed four runs to score and junior outfielder Zach Paquette delivered an RBI-single to give Francis Marion a 9-3 lead. Senior Zack Haralambis, pinch-hitting for the second time in the inning, drove a single up the middle to plate two runs, and Griesinger finished the scoring with his second hit of the frame.
Five different Patriots had two hits in game two: Kennedy, Hinnant, Griesinger, Koch, and Paquette.
Pirate right-hander Matt Meeks (2-3) took the loss despite four of the seven runs he allowed being unearned.