Gonzalez homers again as Patriots drop finale to Braves

Gonzalez homers again as Patriots drop finale to Braves

PEMBROKE, NC – Junior designated hitter Leniel Gonzalez homered for the third time in the last two days, but Francis Marion University fell 23-10 to UNC Pembroke, in the finale of a three-game Peach Belt Conference baseball series on Sunday afternoon (April 7).

The Patriots (22-16, 13-11) are back on the road on Tuesday (April 9) as they visit nationally ranked University of Mount Olive for a non-conference tilt at 5 p.m. Francis Marion returns to Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium to open a three-game PBC series against Columbus State University on Friday night (April 12) at 6 p.m.

Freshman left fielder Will Hardee, senior center fielder Gage Taylor, and senior shortstop CJ Mackinson each had a pair of hits for FMU. Taylor drove in two and extended his current hitting streak to nine in a row. Hardee plated three runs to equal his career high and freshman Brett Kemp came off the bench to collect a career-high four RBIs.

Seven different players had multi-hit games for UNCP (18-19, 8-13), led by sophomore designated hitter Bobby Dixon, who had three hits, three RBIs, and scored three times.

The Braves jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. UNCP had a chance for more, but Hardee cut down a would-be fifth run at the plate to end the frame.

Gonzalez got one back for Francis Marion in the second, belting his third homer of the series and fifth in his last four games. The Sumter native leads the Patriots with eight home runs this season. 

UNC Pembroke erupted for six in the third and added three more in the fourth to stretch its advantage to 13-1.

In the fifth, Hardee notched a sacrifice fly to score Mackinson, but UNCP countered with four in the home half of the frame to up the margin to 17-2.

Taylor launched a solo shot for FMU in the sixth, then added an RBI double in the seventh as part of a three-run Patriot inning. Hardee and Kemp each also drove in a run in the seventh frame, and accounted for all four of Francis Marion's eighth-inning tallies. Hardee drew a bases-loaded walk, and Kemp then cleaned the bases with a three-run double.

The Braves capped the afternoon's scoring with three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth frames.

Sophomore right-hander Tanner Routh (4-1) collected the victory for the Braves, surrendering six runs on eight hits while fanning eight over seven innings.

Senior righty Isaac Rodgers (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season for FMU, yielding 10 runs, eight of which were earned, across 2.2 innings.


UNC Pembroke 23, Francis Marion 10 (Apr 07, 2019 at Pembroke, N.C.)
Francis Marion...... 010 011 340 - 10 10 5 (22-16, 13-11 PBC)
UNC Pembroke........ 406 340 33X - 23 19 0 (18-19, 8-13 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Isaac Rodgers; Will Taks(3); Colby Lee(5); Warren Specht(5);
Nicky Winterstein(7); Noah Davis(7) and Alex Griffith; Trystan Freeman. UNC Pembroke - Routh;
Floyd(8); Winstead(9) and Clemons; A. Simpson.
Win-Routh(4-1) Loss-Isaac Rodgers(6-1) T-3:36 A-319
HR FMU - Gage Taylor (4); Leniel Gonzalez (8).
Weather: Cloudy, 71 Degrees, SSE 6 MPH
Lee faced 6 batters in the 5th.