Meece magic manuevers Patriots by #21 Trojans 5-3

Meece magic manuevers Patriots by #21 Trojans 5-3

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University junior relief pitcher Ethan Meece extinguished a University of Mount Olive rally with the game in the balance and the Patriots went on to claim a 5-3 victory over the 21st-ranked Trojans, Monday (May 6) in non-conference baseball action.

Francis Marion improves to 27-19 and will enter this weekend's Peach Belt Conference Tournament riding a three-game winning streak, including two wins over the nationally ranked Trojans (31-17).  Mount Olive will now have to wait to see if it receives an at-large bid to the NCAA National Tournament when the field is announced next week.

FMU will face host Flagler College on Friday at 5 p.m. to open its PBC Tournament action.  The Patriots will then play Columbus State University on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and USC Aiken at 8:30 p.m., also in St. Augustine, Fla., to round out pool play.  The PBC Tournament title game is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Senior catcher Alex Griffith led FMU at the plate with three hits, a run scored, and a run drive in, while senior center fielder Gage Taylor and senior shortstop CJ Mackinson both rapped out two hits.

Sophomore southpaw Weston Rogers (4-3), the second of five Francis Marion pitchers, earned the win with two scoreless innings.  Junior righty Austin Moody picked up his second save with two scoreless frames to close out the contest.

Freshman right-hander Caleb Irwin (5-3) surrendered the Patriots' first two runs and was tagged with the loss. 

UMO left fielder Joe Mason homered off FMU starter Patrick Orlando in the top of the first to provide an early 1-0 advantage.  Mason finished the night with three hits.

After stranding two runners in each of the first two innings, the Patriots struck for two tallies in the third to go on top 2-1. Griffith poked an RBI single to right field and junior second baseman Patrick Jackson lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

A two-out, two-run single through the left side by senior third baseman Fred Wadsworth extended the Patriot lead to 4-1 in the last of the fifth inning.

In the top of the sixth, Mount Olive scored twice to draw within 4-3 and placed runners on second and third with no outs when Meece entered the contest.  He fanned the first two batters he faced and got the third to fly out to center field to end the threat.  He followed with a scoreless seventh inning, setting the stage for Moody to close the game.

The Patriots added an insurance run in the eighth.  Junior first baseman Leniel Gonzalez reached when his high fly ball down the right field line was misplayed.  Pinch runner Henry Davis IV advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Griffith, and Mackinson plated Davis IV with a two-out, run-scoring single up the middle.

FMU junior right-hander Christian Umphlett pitched one inning and moved up to third on the Patriot career list for relief appearances, equaling Brandon Forshee (2009-10) with 56 visits from the bullpen.

Ten Patriots dressed for their final contest at Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium: Griffith, Taylor, Wadsworth, Mackinson, Davis IV, right fielder Cole Hinnant, and pitchers Will Taks, Evan Flynn, Warren Specht, and Isaac Rodgers.

 

Post-game comments from senior catcher Alex Griffith and junior pitcher Ethan Meece

Post-game comments from FMU head coach Art Inabinet

 

Francis Marion Univ. 5, #21 Univ. of Mount Olive 3 (May 06, 2019 at Florence, SC)
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Univ. of Mount Olive 100 002 000  -  3  8  3      (31-17)
Francis Marion Univ. 002 020 01X  -  5 10  1      (27-19)
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Pitchers: Univ. of Mount Olive - Caleb Bishop; Caleb Irwin (3); Seth Houston (3); Kyle Davis (5);
Trey Pate (7); Jake Isbell (8) and Zack Smith. Francis Marion Univ. - Patrick Orlando;
Weston Rogers (3); Christian Umphlett (5); Ethan Meece (6); Austin Moody (8) and Alex Griffith.
Win-Weston Rogers (4-3)  Save-Austin Moody (2)  Loss-Caleb Irwin (5-3)  T-3:17  A-538
HR UMO - Joe Mason (12).
Weather: Mostly clear,83,Winds ENE@6mph
C.Umphlett faced 4 batters in the 6th.