Pappas walks off vs Saints with 3-run bomb

Pappas walks off vs Saints with 3-run bomb
FLORENCE, SC – Junior designated hitter Nick Pappas launched a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Francis Marion University its fifth straight victory, a 12-9 win over Flagler College, on Friday night (Feb. 15) in Peach Belt Conference baseball action.
The Patriots (7-2, 4-0) and Saints (5-4, 0-1) continue their three-game weekend set at Sparrow Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., before wrapping up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Senior center fielder Gage Taylor notched three hits for FMU, and drove in a career-high six runs to increase his Peach Belt-leading total to 20. Taylor has driven in at least one run in eight straight games.
Senior right fielder Cole Hinnant continued his torrid start to the season, going 4-for-4 and reaching base five times while scoring three runs. Hinnant is second in the PBC with a .488 batting average.
Junior righty Christian Umphlett (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Francis Marion, tossing four shutout frames and striking out four.
Six Saints recorded multiple hits, led by junior Austin Davis' four knocks. Senior catcher Jason Moore added three hits, including his third home run of the year, and senior right fielder Dillon Reed reached three times and drove in three runs.
Trailing 9-8 entering the bottom of the ninth, Hinnant began the frame with a double down the right field line to put the tying run in scoring position for Taylor. The senior found the left-center field gap with the first pitch he saw to bring Hinnant around and tie the game at 9-9. A double play ended the Patriots' threat for a walk-off win, sending the game into extra innings.
Umphlett let the potential go-ahead run reach second base in both the 10th and 11th frames, but each time the righty snuffed out the Saints' threat with an inning-ending strikeout. The Patriots had a runner reach second in the 10th as well, but also left that runner stranded.
In the bottom of the 11th, FMU senior third baseman Patrick Jackson drew a lead-off walk from Flagler junior right-hander Ethan Jones (0-1). Following a Hinnant sacrifice, the Saints elected to intentionally walk Taylor to bring Pappas to the plate. The junior launched an 0-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for his first long ball as a Patriot. The three-run shot also brought his RBI total to 15, which is good for second-most in the conference behind Taylor.
Francis Marion jumped out to an early lead, thanks in large part to Taylor. The South Lebanon, Ohio, native singled home Hinnant in the first, then belted a grand slam, his second slam of the season, in the fourth. It was the third grand slam this season for the Patriots. Jackson also chipped in a two-run single in the six-run Patriot fourth. FMU made it 8-0 in the fifth on an RBI double by junior second baseman Grayson Cottingham.
Senior right-hander Evan Flynn was cruising through five innings for FMU, holding Flagler to just two hits while keeping the visitors off of the scoreboard. He ran into trouble in the sixth, however, as the Saints began their rally with a six-run frame of their own.
Flagler completed its comeback with three more in the seventh, capped by a Reed two-run single.


Post-Game Comments from FMU head coach Art Inabinet and junior DH Nick Pappas

Walk-off Homer Video


Francis Marion 12, Flagler 9 (Feb 15, 2019 at Florence, SC)
Flagler.............      000 006 300 00 - 9 16 0 (5-4, 0-1 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 100 610 001 03 - 12 15 2 (7-2, 4-0 PBC)
Pitchers: Flagler - Derick Garcia; Colt Mink (6); Ethan Jones (10) and Jason Moore.
Francis Marion - Evan Flynn; Ethan Meece (6); Warren Specht (7); Patrick Orlando (7);
Christian Umphlett (8) and Alex Griffith; Matt Moclair.
Win-Christian Umphlett (1-0) Loss-Ethan Jones (0-1) T-3:26 A-667
HR FLG - Jason Moore.
HR FMU - Gage Taylor; Nick Pappas.
Weather: Overcast, 66 degrees, winds SW
Flynn faced 6 batters in the 6th.