ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Francis Marion University dropped the first two games of a three-game series 4-3 in 10 innings and 7-5 against Flagler College, Saturday (Feb. 17) afternoon in Peach Belt Conference baseball action.
Francis Marion falls to 7-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference, while the Saints improve to 7-2 and 2-0. The Patriots will play the final game of the series against Flagler on Sunday at 1 p.m. The next home game for FMU will be against Belmont Abbey College on Wednesday with the first pitch set for 3 p.m.
Junior third baseman/catcher Alex Griffith tallied four hits in both games combined, while senior Trey Chapman had three hits in the second game along with three RBIs. Other players that delivered RBIs were junior left fielder Gage Taylor, junior shortstop CJ Mackinson, and junior second baseman Brody Thomasson.
In the opener, junior center fielder Cole Hinnant walked, senior designated hitter Tee DuBose singled to left field, and Chapman moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Thomasson singled to right center field scoring Hinnant. DuBose scored on the next play as Taylor grounded out to the second baseman giving the Patriots an early 2-0 lead in the second inning.
With runners on the corners in the bottom of the sixth, Flagler center fielder Dillion Reed knocked a base hit to left field cutting the Patriots lead in half at 2-1.
Sophomore left fielder Sean Lawlor walked to start Flagler's seventh inning, then advanced to second base on a balk, took third base on a groundout, then scored on a second balk tying the game 2-2.
The contest would head into extra innings. In the top half of the tenth, FMU junior right fielder Steven Cox was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Griffith, and scored on two consecutive wild pitches giving the Patriots a 3-2 lead.
Martello's leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning proved costly as freshman Nikolas Dague pinch ran for Martello, and came around to score on a single by Reed. Two batters later, sophomore pinch hitter Jimmy Peck hit a knock to left center field, scoring the winning run 4-3.
Sophomore righty Ethan Jones (1-0) picked up his first win of the campaign giving up two runs on four hits and punching out two batters.
FMU righty Evan Flynn (1-1) came in relief for sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam High and took the loss, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out two batters. High pitched five no-hit frames and came out of the contest with one out in the sixth, tallying six punch-outs, while giving up two runs on two hits.
Flagler posted a four spot in their half of the first inning of the second game with an RBI single by Peck and a three-run homer to right center field by Lawlor.
Mackinson and Chapman launched homers in the game for the Patriots making the score 5-2 in favor of the Saints heading into the sixth inning.
Chapman pulled FMU to within one run at 5-4 in the sixth with a 2-RBI single, but Martello hit a two-run home run in the bottom half to expand Flagler's lead back to three runs (7-4).
Heading into the ninth FMU loaded the bases, Taylor grounded out to second scoring Thomasson in the process and making the score 7-5. After Griffith was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, junior pinch hitter Josh Kent grounded out to end the game.
Patriot junior right-handed pitcher Isaac Rodgers (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season. He gave up six runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking three hitters.
The winning pitcher for Flagler was junior righty Kyle Morton (2-1) throwing six and one-third innings and giving up four runs on eight hits.