Gonzalez, Griffith fuel FMU to extra-inning win at #9 UNG

Gonzalez, Griffith fuel FMU to extra-inning win at #9 UNG

DAHLONEGA, GA – Junior first baseman Leniel Gonzalez launched a pair of home runs and senior catcher Alex Griffith broke a 4-4 deadlock with a two-run single in the top of the 11th inning to help Francis Marion University topple ninth-ranked University of North Georgia 7-4, in the finale of a three-game Peach Belt Conference baseball series on Sunday afternoon (March 31).

Francis Marion (20-14, 11-10) returns to Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium to face Queens University of Charlotte in a non-conference contest on Tuesday (April 2) at 6 p.m.

Five Patriots had multi-hit efforts, led by freshman Will Hardee's four knocks. Senior shortstop CJ Mackinson collected three hits, and Gonzalez, Griffith, and senior center fielder Gage Taylor registered two hits apiece.

Sophomore left fielder Crews Taylor had a pair of hits and reached base five times to lead North Georgia (23-9, 12-6). Junior designated hitter Brady Eeles and sophomore shortstop William Mapes had two hits apiece, while senior center fielder Joshua Profit drove in a pair for the Nighthawks.

In the top of the 11th, Francis Marion loaded the bases with one out for Griffith, who singled to center off of North Georgia sophomore righty Parker Morrison (5-2) to put the Patriots back on top 6-4. After an error, redshirt freshman second baseman Tanner Wakefield knocked in his second run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly to extend the advantage to three.

FMU junior right-handed reliever Austin Moody came on with two Nighthawks aboard with no outs in the bottom of the inning and induced a double play and picked up a strikeout to seal the Francis Marion victory. It was the first save of Moody's collegiate career.

For the third straight game FMU struck first, as Gonzalez homered in the second to put the Patriots on top 1-0. UNG leveled the score with a run in the bottom of the third.

Gonzalez put Francis Marion back on top in the fourth with a two-run shot, his team-leading fifth of the season. Wakefield tacked on the third run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-1.

North Georgia pulled a run back in the fifth, and then tied the game at 4-4 with a two-run eighth. Sophomore third baseman Nick Clarno homered, and then Crews Taylor evened the score with a two-out RBI single.

FMU loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth, but a strikeout kept the contest tied.

Junior righty Ethan Meece (1-0) earned his first win as a Patriot, tossing a pair of scoreless frames in relief.  Senior righty Isaac Rodgers started for FMU and went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits.

Gonzalez joined Mackinson as the second Patriot to hit a pair of home runs in the same game this season. Mackinson belted a pair of long balls in a 16-4 win over Chowan University on March 6.


Francis Marion 7, #9 North Georgia 4 (Mar 31, 2019 at Dahlonega, Ga.)
Francis Marion...... 010 300 000 03 -  7 15  0      (20-14, 11-10 PBC)
North Georgia....... 001 010 020 00 -  4 10  1      (23-9, 12-6 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Isaac Rodgers; Patrick Orlando (6); Ethan Meece (9); Austin Moody (11)
and Alex Griffith. North Georgia - Heil; Collett (4); Luigs (8); Morrison (9); Wright (11) and LeRoy.
Win-Ethan Meece (1-0)  Save-Austin Moody (1)  Loss-Morrison (5-2)  T-3:45  A-187
HR FMU - Leniel Gonzalez 2.
HR UNG - Clarno.
Heil faced 3 batters in the 4th.
I.Rodgers faced 1 batter in the 6th.