Tastes Better! Hardee’s sac fly gives Patriots 3-2 win

Tastes Better! Hardee’s sac fly gives Patriots 3-2 win

FLORENCE, SC – Freshman left fielder Will Hardee's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning plated the winning run, and former Francis Marion University basketball player Warren Specht earned his first pitching victory, as the Patriots edged Wingate University 3-2, Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 12) in non-conference baseball action.

Francis Marion, winners of four straight, improves to 6-2.  The Patriots return to Peach Belt Conference play this weekend, hosting Flagler College for a three-game series beginning with a 6 p.m. contest on Friday.

Specht, a 6-5 right-hander, starred on last season's FMU basketball squad that reached the NCAA Tournament.  Having already earned his undergraduate degree, Specht (1-0) was making his third appearance of the 2019 campaign. He retired all five batters he faced, including extinguishing a Wingate threat in the seventh inning.

FMU senior righty Isaac Rodgers and Wingate starter Nick Stegman controlled the game through the first six frames, limiting each team to one hit apiece.  Francis Marion finished the game with only three hits, while Wingate registered four.

Francis Marion took a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. Junior catcher Matt Moclair and senior right fielder Cole Hinnant both walked and came around to score when senior center fielder Gage Taylor lined a two-run double just inside the chalk down the right field line.  Taylor now leads the team and the PBC with 14 runs batted in.

The Bulldogs tied the game in the seventh and chased Rodgers.  A one-out RBI double to left by Jed Bryant trimmed the margin to 2-1, and designated hitter Hunter Dula followed with an RBI groundout.

FMU threatened in the bottom half of the frame, but came up empty.  Hardee drilled a lead-off single to center and senior shortstop CJ Mackinson followed with a seeing-eye singe through the drawn-in infield that was expecting a bunt and runners stood on the corners.  Wingate reliever Sawyer Lee then retired the next three Patriot batters in order to end the uprising.

In the last of the eighth, Wingate left-handed reliever Adam Tulloch (0-1) hit Taylor with his first pitch, then threw a wild pitch, and then walked junior designated hitter Nick Pappas. Following another pitching change, junior first baseman Leniel Gonzalez was hit by a pitch while attempting to bunt, loading the bases.  After a strikeout, Hardee lifted his sacrifice fly to medium right field, plating Taylor with the winning run.

Patriot junior righty Patrick Orlando retired the Bulldogs in order in the ninth to record his second save of 2019.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Art Inabinet


Post-game comments from senior centerfielder Gage Taylor

Francis Marion 3, Wingate 2 (Feb 12, 2019 at Sparrow Stadium)
Wingate.............    000 000 200  -  2  4  1      (5-3)
Francis Marion...... 002 000 01X  -  3  3  0      (6-2)
Pitchers: Wingate - Nick Stegman; Tommy McCollum (6); Sawyer Lee (7); Adam Tulloch (8);
Hunter Dula (8) and Andrew Llewellyn. Francis Marion - Isaac Rodgers; Warren Specht (7);
Patrick Orlando (9) and Matt Moclair.
Win-Warren Specht (1-0)  Save-Patrick Orlando (2)  Loss-Adam Tulloch (0-1)  T-2:34  A-542
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 73 degrees, win
T. McCollum faced 2 batters in the 7th.
Adam Tulloch faced 2 batters in the 8th.