Cougar responses key in 6-3 win over Francis Marion

Cougar responses key in 6-3 win over Francis Marion

FLORENCE, SC – Columbus State University twice registered immediate rallies after falling behind by a run and eventually claimed a 6-3 win over Francis Marion University, Friday night (April 21) in Peach Belt Conference baseball action.

Francis Marion (29-17, 9-13) and CSU (26-17, 13-9) will play game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.  The Patriots will celebrate Boys and Girls Club Day and Military Appreciation Day with all military veterans admitted free with a military ID.

The loss drops FMU into ninth place in the PBC standings, one game behind Georgia Southwestern State University for the final berth in the conference tournament.

Senior right fielder Zach Paquette, senior designated hitter Logan Koch, and freshman left fielder Connor Howell each posted two hits for Francis Marion.

CSU senior right-hander Caleb Kutsche (10-1) recorded his eighth complete game of the season as he limited the Patriots to nine hits, while fanning seven.

Patriot freshman righty Christian Umphlett (5-4) allowed the final four Cougar runs (three were earned) and was tagged with the loss.

Francis Marion took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with an unearned run.  With senior second baseman Antonio Pino running from first base on a two-out 3-2 pitch, Paquette singled to deep in the hole at shortstop.  When the late throw from short was wild to first base, Pino came all the way around to score.

However in the top of the eighth, Columbus State struck for two runs on RBI hits by second baseman Grant Berry and center fielder Tyler Fichter to regain the lead at 4-3.  The deficit could have been two runs if not for the sparkling jai alai-type play made by junior Patriot first baseman Trey Chapman on a squeeze bunt attempt by the Cougars.  His glove field-and-toss to FMU junior catcher William Robbins allowed for the tag at home plate on the CSU runner.

Columbus State added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth on an RBI double by left fielder Turner Vincent, and a subsequent throwing error that allowed Vincent to circle the bases and score.

FMU took an early 1-0 advantage when Paquette homered to left field on the first pitch that Kutsche threw.  CSU promptly scored twice in the top of the second and held a 2-1 lead until Howell dropped a run-scoring single into shallow left field in the fourth frame.

Patriot junior center fielder Reese Cooley singled in the first frame to extend his streak of safely reaching base to 28 straight games.

Vincent and Berry both tallied three hits for the Cougars.

Following the game, Team Pepsi defeated Honda Team Pioneers 51-36 for the inaugural Batting for Babies charity championship.

Columbus State Univ. 6, Francis Marion Univ. 3 (Apr 21, 2017 at Florence, SC)
Columbus State Univ. 020 000 022  -  6 12  1      (26-17, 13-9 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ.   100 100 100  -  3  9  1      (29-17, 9-13 PBC)
Pitchers: Columbus State Univ. - Caleb Kutsche and Bryce Delevie. Francis Marion Univ. -
Arien Seymour; Garrett Wilson (5); Christian Umphlett (7) and William Robbins.
Win-Caleb Kutsche (10-1)  Loss-Christian Umphlett (5-4)  T-2:50  A-588
HR FMU - Zach Paquette (1).
Weather: Partly Cloudy,86,Winds SW @ 6
Seymour faced 1 batter in the 5th.