FLORENCE, SC – Junior center fielder Reese Cooley capped a two-out second-inning outburst with a grand slam home run to help lift Francis Marion University to a 9-2 win over Limestone College, Tuesday evening (April 11) in non-conference baseball action.
Francis Marion ups its season mark to 27-14, while dropping the Saints to .500 at 20-20. The Patriots will open a key three-game Peach Belt Conference series at USC Aiken on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Cooley finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored, while extending his streak of safely reaching base to 23 straight games. Junior right fielder Zach Paquette led FMU from the lead-off spot with three hits, a run scored, and an RBI, while junior catcher William Robbins went 2-for-4.
Junior right-hander Austin Griffie (2-1), the first of five Patriot hurlers in the mid-week game, earned the victory with four innings of work. He allowed one earned run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts. Altogether, Patriot pitchers fanned nine Limestone batters.
Limestone starter Michael Sholtis (2-3) surrendered six runs (four earned) on six hits and was charged with the loss.
Francis Marion took a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first frame when senior designated hitter Logan Koch delivered a two-out, two-run single to left field. The margin jumped to 6-0 after Reese's 383-foot drive that landed just to the right of the scoreboard in left center field. The rally started after the initial two FMU batters in the inning were retired.
Limestone tallied single runs in the third and fourth innings to draw within 6-2. Shortstop Zach Piazza doubled in the first run and catcher Brandon Banks accounted for the second run with a sacrifice fly.
The Patriots added three insurance runs in the last of the fifth. Junior first baseman Tee DuBose, who was nearly pulled for a pinch hitter but remained in the game due to a pitching change, doubled down the left field line to plate Koch. Senior outfielder Cole Griesinger scored on a throwing error and Paquette drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly, scoring pinch runner Austin Fox.
Piazza led Limestone at the plate with a 4-for-5 evening.
The night also featured the second installment of the Batting for Babies Night at Sparrow Stadium. Team Honda Pioneers totaled 46 points to defeat GE Healthcare (42), Honda Team Rubicons (17), and ABB (15). Team Honda Pioneers will now battle Team Pepsi for the title following the Patriots' 6 p.m. game against Columbus State University on Friday, April 21.