Rodgers goes the distance as FMU wins at Limestone 8-1

Rodgers goes the distance as FMU wins at Limestone 8-1

GAFFNEY, SC – Senior right-handed pitcher Isaac Rodgers tossed his first career complete game as Francis Marion University cruised past Limestone College 8-1, Tuesday evening (March 12) in a non-conference baseball contest.

The Patriots (16-7) continue their five-game road trip as they visit Young Harris College for a three-game Peach Belt Conference series which begins Friday night (March 15) at 6 p.m. Francis Marion returns home on Friday, March 22, to begin a three-game PBC series against Lander University.

Freshman left fielder Will Hardee led the Patriot offense with a career-high four hits. The South Florence High School graduate, who is the reigning PBC Freshman of the Week,  also scored twice, drove in a pair of runs, and extended his hitting streak to seven games. Senior shortstop CJ Mackinson and redshirt freshman second baseman Tanner Wakefield had two hits apiece.

Junior second baseman Trace Whetsell and junior left fielder Alex Cornell led the Saints (7-15) with two hits each.

Rodgers (4-0) got off to a quick start, striking out the side in the bottom of the first inning. Limestone's lone run against the senior came in the third, as Whetsell drove in a run with a single.

With FMU leading 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Rodgers worked around a pair of singles to keep the Patriots ahead by three. The senior went on to retire the final 14 Saints he faced to register Francis Marion's first complete game of the season. Rodgers scattered six hits, walked one, and fanned a career-high 11.

Francis Marion struck first with two outs in the third. Hardee kept the inning alive with a single, and then senior right fielder Cole Hinnant launched a two-run homer to the opposite field to put the Patriots ahead 2-0. The long ball extended Hinnant's hitting streak to 10 in a row.

The Patriots extended their edge with another round-tripper in the fourth, as senior designated hitter Alex Griffith delivered a two-run blast to make it 4-1. It is the second straight game Griffith has homered.

FMU tacked on another in the seventh. Wakefield began the inning with a bunt single, then moved to second on a Saints' error. Hardee then plated Wakefield with a single, extending the margin to four at 5-1.

The Patriots took advantage of a pair of errors to tack on three more in the ninth. Freshman catcher Trystan Freeman scored on an error, Hardee drove in another with a single, and then scampered home on a ground ball.

Junior lefty Marcus Johnson (1-3) took the loss for Limestone, allowing five runs, four of which were earned, across seven innings of work.

It was FMU's first road contest after a 15-game homestand.  The Patriots are receiving votes in this week's NCBWA Top 25 poll.


Francis Marion 8, Limestone 1 (Mar 12, 2019 at Gaffney, S.C.)
Francis Marion......  002 200 103  -  8 13  0      (16-7)
Limestone...........   001 000 000  -  1  6  3      (7-15)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Isaac Rodgers and Trystan Freeman. Limestone - Johnson, M.; Greider, J. (8); Zak, T. (9) and Towle, J.
Win-Isaac Rodgers (4-0)  Loss-Johnson, M. (1-3)  T-2:10  A-113
HR FMU - Cole Hinnant (3); Alex Griffith (3).
Weather: 62 degrees; partly cloudy