Homers lift Francis Marion to sweep of Braves 15-5 and 6-5

Homers lift Francis Marion to sweep of Braves 15-5 and 6-5

PEMBROKE, NC – Junior first baseman Leniel Gonzalez homered twice including a record-setting grand slam as Francis Marion University overcame an early four-run deficit to claim a 15-5 win over UNC Pembroke in the first game of Saturday afternoon's (April 6) Peach Belt Conference baseball doubleheader.  A trio of Patriot homers and a key defensive play in the bottom of the ninth allowed FMU to claim a 6-5 victory in game two and a sweep of the twin bill.

The sweep upped Francis Marion's overall mark to 22-15 and moved the Patriots into sixth place in the PBC standings with a 13-10 mark.  It marked the first win for the Patriots in Pembroke since April 10, 2015, and is the first series win on the Braves' home field since 2010.

FMU and UNCP (17-19, 7-14) will conclude their three-game series on Sunday with a single game at 1 p.m.

In the opener, Gonzalez went 3-for-4 and homered twice for the second consecutive game.  He also went deep twice in the final game of last weekend's series at nationally ranked University of North Georgia.  His second homer on Saturday was a seventh-inning grand slam, the seventh slam of the season by the Patriots breaking the PBC record of six set by Young Harris College.

Patriot senior shortstop CJ Mackinson and senior third baseman Fred Wadsworth also had three hits apiece and both homered and drove in three runs.

Junior righty Austin Moody (1-0) was the beneficiary of the Patriot comeback.  He pitched the final 3.1 innings and allowed only one hit and no runs.

UNCP plated four runs in the bottom of the first, but Francis Marion answered with five unanswered tallies to take a 5-4 advantage in the top of the sixth inning.  A solo homer by Wadsworth and an RBI single by senior center fielder Gage Taylor capped that comeback.  However, the Braves quickly responded with a tying run in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score at 5-5.

In the seventh frame, a two-run single by senior right fielder Cole Hinnant put FMU ahead 7-5, and three batters later, Gonzalez launched his grand slam over the left centerfield fence giving the Patriots an 11-5 lead. 

A three-run homer by Mackinson highlighted a four-run ninth inning that accounted for the final margin.

UNCP starter Nile Ball (6-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered the Patriots' first seven runs.

In the second contest, Francis Marion never trailed after solo homers by junior first baseman Nick Pappas and senior catcher Alex Griffith in the fourth frame.  A sacrifice fly by Gonzalez and a three-run long ball by Wadsworth in the sixth upped the margin to 6-1.

A pair of homers by right field fielder Ethan Baucom helped the Braves trim the margin to 6-5 entering the ninth inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, UNCP's lead-off batter was hit by a pitch, and pinch runner Trenton Walsh would then move to second on a sacrifice bunt.  Third baseman Zach Ghelfi followed with a single through the right side, but Hinnant's strong throw kept Walsh from scoring and forced him to retreat back to the base. Griffith took Hinnant's throw at the plate and fired to Wadsworth at third who applied the tag on Walsh before he could reach the bag.  Ghelfi would eventually reach third base on a two-out passed ball, but FMU sophomore southpaw Weston Rogers struck out the next batter after an epic 10-pitch battle to earn his first save as a Patriot and end the game.

Junior lefty Josh Bobrowski (4-4) evened his record as he pitched seven strong innings, allowing only two earned runs on three hits with six strikeouts.

Pappas and Wadsworth both had two hits in the second contest.

UNCP left-hander Landen Smith (2-5) was the losing pitcher.


Francis Marion 15, UNC Pembroke 5 (Apr 06, 2019 at Pembroke, N.C.) (Game 1)
Francis Marion......    021 002 604  - 15 16  1      (21-15, 12-10 PBC)
UNC Pembroke........ 400 001 000  -  5  6  2      (17-18, 7-12 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Evan Flynn; Christian Umphlett (2); Noah Davis (5); Austin Moody (6)
and Alex Griffith; Matt Moclair. UNC Pembroke - Ball; Helms (7); Hurd (7); Sprinkle (9) and Clemons
; A. Simpson.
Win-Austin Moody (1-0)  Loss-Ball (6-3)  T-3:42
HR FMU - Leniel Gonzalez 2 (7); CJ Mackinson (3); Fred Wadsworth (1).
Weather: Cloudy, 70 Degrees, NNW 5 MPH
Flynn faced 2 batters in the 2nd.  C.Umphlett faced 1 batter in the 5th.  Ball faced 2 batters in the 7th.
Francis Marion 6, UNC Pembroke 5 (Apr 06, 2019 at Pembroke, N.C.) (Game 2)
Francis Marion...... 000 204 000  -  6  7  2      (22-15, 13-10 PBC)
UNC Pembroke........ 000 101 120  -  5  6  0      (17-19, 7-14 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Josh Bobrowski; Patrick Orlando (8); Weston Rogers (9) and
Alex Griffith. UNC Pembroke - Smith; Morrison (6); Toney (9) and Clemons.
Win-Josh Bobrowski (4-4)  Save-Weston Rogers (1)  Loss-Smith (2-5)  T-3:04  A-472
HR FMU - Nick Pappas (3); Alex Griffith (5); Fred Wadsworth (2).
HR UNCP - E. Baucom 2 (15).
Weather: Cloudy, 72 Degrees, NE 5 MPH
Morrison faced 1 batter in the 9th.      Orlando faced 1 batter in the 9th.