Ten-run first inning carries Patriots past Royals

Ten-run first inning carries Patriots past Royals

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University plated ten runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back, cruising to a 16-3 victory over Queens University of Charlotte in a non-conference baseball tilt on Tuesday evening (Feb. 27).

Francis Marion (10-5) will host a two-day round-robin tournament at Sparrow Stadium on Friday and Saturday (Mar. 1-2) as it welcomes Newberry College and Davis & Elkins College to Florence. The Wolves and Senators will meet in the weekend opener on Friday at 2 p.m., with the Patriots taking on Davis & Elkins in the night cap at 5 p.m. Newberry and Davis & Elkins will meet again on Saturday at 11 a.m., with FMU facing Newberry at 2 p.m., and then Davis & Elkins at 5 p.m. to wrap-up the weekend.

Senior shortstop CJ Mackinson and senior catcher Alex Griffith each drove in four to lead FMU's attack, while junior first baseman Leniel Gonzalez and redshirt freshman third baseman Tanner Wakefield had two RBIs apiece. Gonzalez, Mackinson, and Wakefield each had a pair of hits.

Three Royals (3-9) had multi-hit games, led by freshman third baseman Nick Melton, who went 3-for-4 with a home run. Sophomore shortstop Dominic Ford and freshman first baseman Noah Jones had two knocks apiece.

Most of FMU's damage in the opening frame came via the double, with Gonzalez, Griffith, and Mackinson all plating two apiece with two-baggers. Senior right fielder Cole Hinnant and junior designated hitter Nick Pappas each drove in one with a double of their own. Hinnant came around to score on his double after a pair of Queens' errors on the play. Wakefield knocked in a run with a base hit to complete the ten-run outburst, which saw 14 Patriots come to the plate, in what was their highest-scoring inning of the season. FMU banged out seven doubles for the evening, one shy of the school record for a single-game.

The Royals pulled one back in the second, but Francis Marion quickly answered in the home half. Junior second baseman Grayson Cottingham led off with a triple to the wall in right-center field, and then came around to score on a Griffith ground ball.

Starting with a double play in the second, FMU senior starter Isaac Rodgers (2-0) retired eight Royals in a row before a pair of long balls in the fifth got Queens to within 11-3. Rodgers surrendered three runs on six hits over five innings and struck out five.

Wakefield, Griffith, and Mackinson each brought in a run in the three-run fifth for FMU, and Mackinson then plated his fourth run of the evening on an RBI single in the eighth. Junior Patrick Jackson raced home on a wild pitch to complete the evening's scoring.

Francis Marion has scored 36 runs over its last two games following a 20-4 win over conference-rival USC Aiken on Sunday.

Behind Rodgers, the relief quartet of junior righties Christian Umphlett and Austin Moody and freshman right-handers Brayden Barry and Noah Davis worked four scoreless innings. The four relievers combined to yield just three hits while picking up three strikeouts.


Francis Marion 16, Queens (N.C.) 3 (Feb 27, 2019 at Florence, SC)
Queens (N.C.)....... 0   10 020 000  -  3  9  8      (3-9)
Francis Marion...... (10)10 300 02X  - 16 12  2      (10-5)
Pitchers: Queens (N.C.) - L. Wright; D. Bagwell(1); W. Boling(3); L. Harrison(4);
K. Schrenk(5); E. Dix(6); M. Fries(7); C. Huggins(8); A. Hunter(8) and R. Dudney; A. Orta.
Francis Marion - Isaac Rodgers; Christian Umphlett(6); Austin Moody(7); Brayden Barry(8);
Noah Davis(9) and Alex Griffith; Trystan Freeman.
Win-Isaac Rodgers(2-0)  Loss-L. Wright(0-2)  T-3:00  A-517
HR QUEENS - N. Melton; R. Dudney.
Weather: Overcast, 68 degrees, winds S
W. Boling faced 3 batters in the 4th.