FMU Baseball drops middle game to USC Aiken

FMU Baseball drops middle game to USC Aiken

FLORENCE, SC – A pair of four-run frames helped USC Aiken pull away for a 14-1 victory over Francis Marion University in Peach Belt Conference baseball action on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 23). 

The Patriots (8-5, 5-3) and Pacers (9-3, 2-0) conclude their three-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon at Sparrow Stadium. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m., pushed back one hour from the original start time of 1 p.m.

Francis Marion's offense was held to three hits for the afternoon, with senior shortstop CJ Mackinson, freshman left fielder Will Hardee, and junior catcher Matt Moclair collecting one knock apiece. Moclair's seventh-inning single was his first hit for FMU, while Mackinson's eighth-inning double extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by a Patriot this season.

Five different Pacers posted multi-hit efforts, led by junior first baseman Alex Mills, who went 3-for-4, including a home run. Junior left fielder Blake Jenkins and freshman center fielder Jackson Hannon each drove in three for USCA, with Jenkins picking up his first long ball of the year.

The Pacers took advantage of an error to take a 1-0 lead in the second, and then added two more in the third on a pair of run-scoring doubles.

Francis Marion pulled one back in the home half of the fourth. Junior second baseman Grayson Cottingham reached on an error, which kept the inning alive for Hardee, who tripled off of the wall in right-center field to get FMU on the board.

USC Aiken chased the Patriots' starter, sophomore southpaw Weston Rogers (2-1), with a four-run fifth, and then tacked on four more in the sixth on Mills' and Hannon's homers to make it 11-1.

Three eighth-inning tallies, two of which were unearned, accounted for the last of the contest's runs.

Pacers' senior starter Zach Rafuse (3-0) kept the Patriots at bay. FMU put the first two on in the second, but the righty retired the next three to keep his team on top. Following Hardee's RBI triple, Rafuse retired the final seven he faced to begin a run of nine in a row set down by USCA pitching. Rafuse did not allow an earned run over his six innings, yielded one hit, and fanned seven.


USC Aiken 14, Francis Marion 1 (Feb 23, 2019 at Florence, SC)
USC Aiken...........  012 044 030  - 14 15  3      (9-3, 2-0 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 000 100 000  -  1  3  3      (8-5, 5-3 PBC)
Pitchers: USC Aiken - Zach Rafuse; William Ard(7); Will Varnadore(9) and Lu. Leisenring;
Blake Bottomley. Francis Marion - Weston Rogers; Christian Umphlett(5); Will Taks(6);
Colby Lee(8); Noah Davis(9) and Alex Griffith; Matt Moclair.
Win-Zach Rafuse(3-0)  Loss-Weston Rogers(2-1)  T-3:14  A-669
HR USCA - Alex Mills; Blake Jenkins.
Weather: Overcast w/ light fog, 46 degr
C.Umphlett faced 4 batters in the 6th.