Lopez Long Ball lifts FMU to PBC split

Lopez Long Ball lifts FMU to PBC split

FLORENCE, SC – Senior Shannan Lopez drilled a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to hand Francis Marion University a 4-2 win over Columbus State University and a split of Saturday's (April 9) Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader.  Columbus State scored five runs in the top of the seventh to pull away for an 11-5 victory in the day's opener.

Francis Marion (31-17, 9-11) will return to the field on Sunday at 1 p.m. when the Patriots host 17th-ranked Armstrong State University for a twinbill.

Lopez, who was hitless in six trips to the plate during the doubleheader, launched a 2-2 pitch from CSU reliever Darby Demarest (1-3) over the left field fence to secure the game-two win.  The home run, Lopez's sixth of the year, also scored freshman catcher Chelsea Welty, who had singled with two outs to prolong the inning.


Welty registered three of Francis Marion's seven hits in the second game, while scoring twice.  Juniors Mikala Barnhart and Taylor Brunson extended their hitting streaks to eight and seven games respectively with hits in both games.

Sophomore right-hander Samantha Wroblewski (15-4) picked up the game-two win.  She surrendered only one earned run, while scattering seven hits and fanning two with no walks issued.

FMU took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning on a run-scoring ground out by freshman shortstop Taylor Johnson.  CSU (23-22, 7-11) evened the score with an unearned tally in the third that came home on an RBI single by shortstop Calli Star.

The Patriots regained the lead at 2-1 in the last of the fourth when Welty doubled to right center and eventually scored on a two-out throwing error.  Again the Cougars responded, knotting the game in the fifth when third baseman Katie White homered over the right field fence.

In game one of the doubleheader, Columbus State scored three times in the top of the first.  The outburst was highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of first baseman Kailey Boone.

A second two-run double by Boone, this time in the third, helped extend the margin to 6-0.  FMU answered with three runs in the last of the third.  Brunson laced a run-scoring single to left and senior Mykah Nevin followed with a sacrifice fly.  Junior right fielder Briana Barzola scored the third tally when Brunson was caught in a run-down between first and second trying to steal.

A two-run rally with two outs in the fifth brought Francis Marion to within 6-5.  Brunson plated Barzola with an RBI double to right center.  She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield fielding error.

Johnson doubled to lead off bottom of the sixth, but was stranded there as Demarest retired the next three batters in order.  The Cougars then erupted for five runs on three hits and three walks in the top of the seventh to salt the game away.  The big hit was a three-run double by left fielder Rachel Rhodes that was lost in the sun by a Patriot outfielder.

FMU senior righty Shelby Kelley (16-13) took the loss as she allowed nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits in 6.1 innings.  Brunson was 3-for-4 in the opener, while Barzola was 2-for-3.

CSU starter Peyton Sorrells (11-6) earned the win, while Demarest recorded her second save of 2016 with two scoreless innings.  Star was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in game one, while both Boone and Rhodes were 2-for-4 with four runs batted in.

Columbus State Univ. 11, Francis Marion Univ. 5 (Apr 09, 2016 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Columbus State Univ. 303 000 5 - 11 11  1      (23-21, 7-10 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ.   003 020 0 -  5  8  2      (30-17, 8-11 PBC)
Pitchers: Columbus State Univ. - Peyton Sorrells; Darby Demarest(6) and Kayleigh Briant.
Francis Marion Univ. - Shelby Kelley; Samantha Wroblewski(7) and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Peyton Sorrells(11-6)  Save-Darby Demarest(2)  Loss-Shelby Kelley(16-13)  T-2:00  A-0
Weather: Sunny,63,Windy W @ 16 mph


Francis Marion Univ. 4, Columbus State Univ. 2 (Apr 09, 2016 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Columbus State Univ. 001 010 00 -  2  7  1      (23-22, 7-11 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ.   100 100 02 -  4  7  2      (31-17, 9-11 PBC)
Pitchers: Columbus State Univ. - Hanna Manley; Darby Demarest(5) and Kayleigh Briant.
Francis Marion Univ. - Samantha Wroblewski and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Samantha Wroblewski(15-4)  Loss-Darby Demarest(1-3)  T-1:59  A-90
HR CSU - Katie White (2).
HR FMU_SB - Shannan Lopez (6).
Weather: Sunny,64,Windy W @ 21 mph