Early grand slam sends Patriots to 7-4 defeat

Early grand slam sends Patriots to 7-4 defeat

FLORENCE, SC – Catcher Cory Ewald hit a first-inning grand slam and Young Harris College held off a late Francis Marion University rally to claim a 7-4 Peach Belt Conference victory, Saturday afternoon (March 17) in the second game of the Carolinas Hospital System Baseball Classic.

FMU (10-16, 4-10) and the Mountain Lions (12-12, 7-7) will play the rubber game of their three-game weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Junior shortstop CJ Mackinson led Francis Marion with a 3-for-5 afternoon, while extending his hitting streak to nine games.  Junior center fielder Gage Taylor went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in and extended his hitting streak to 10 games, while junior third baseman Alex Griffith had two hits, including a solo home run.

Patriot starter Isaac Rodgers (2-4) was tagged with the loss.  Junior reliever Evan Flynn pitched 8.1 innings of relief and allowed only one earned run on seven hits with eight strikeouts.

A pair of one-out walks and a soft single to center in the top of the first frame preceded the 351-foot grand slam homer to left field by Ewald.  FMU looked to respond immediately, placing their first two batters on base in the bottom of the frame, but a strikeout and a double play grounder followed.

Griffith got the Patriots on the board with his solo shot (to left field) in the bottom of the second.

Young Harris loaded the bases in the top of the third, but did not score as mixed in were three strikeouts by Flynn. An RBI ground out by designated hitter Jackson Jones restored the Mountain Lions' four-run margin in the top of the fourth.

A fielding error and a throwing error on the same play led to a pair of unearned runs for the Mountain Lions in the ninth to complete their scoring.  Those runs prove crucial as the Patriots plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth.

FMU loaded the bases with two outs, before Taylor sent two runners home with a single to left.  Following a wild pitch that moved both runners up a base, junior second baseman Steven Cox punched an RBI single through the left side to bring FMU to within 7-4.  With the potential tying run coming to the plate, Young Harris brought in reliever Steven Eichhorn who recorded a strikeout for the final out and to earn his first save of 2018.

Mountain Lion starter Mat Szabo (3-2) pitched 5.1 innings to earn the win.

 

Young Harris College 7, Francis Marion Univ. 4 (Mar 17, 2018 at Florence, SC)
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Young Harris College 400 100 002  -  7  9  0      (12-12, 7-7 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ.   010 000 003  -  4 11  2      (10-16, 4-10 PBC)
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Pitchers: Young Harris College - Mat Szabo; McLain Harris(6); Steven Eichhorn(9) and Cory Ewald
. Francis Marion Univ. - Isaac Rodgers; Evan Flynn(1); John-Riley Hathcock(9) and
William Robbins.
Win-Mat Szabo (3-2)  Save-Steven Eichhorn (1)  Loss-Isaac Rodgers (2-4)  T-3:04  A-611
HR YHC - Cory Ewald (5). HR FMU - Alex Griffith (4).
Weather: Mostly cloudy,67,Winds:SW@8mph