Homers and a Walk-off in FMU sweep of Lander

Homers and a Walk-off in FMU sweep of Lander

FLORENCE, SC – Junior first baseman Brooke Holcomb belted a walk-off run-scoring double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Francis Marion University a 2-1 win in Saturday's (March 4) Peach Belt Conference opener with Lander University, and the Patriots rode back-to-back homers by junior third baseman Sam Chiudina and sophomore catcher Chelsea Welty to a 6-0 game-two victory and a sweep of the doubleheader.

Francis Marion ups its overall record to 16-4 with its 10th consecutive win, and the Patriots are now 2-0 in PBC play.  FMU will play host to USC Aiken for a Peach Belt twinbill on Sunday at 1 p.m.  The Patriots will be holding Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day.

In Saturday's first game, Holcomb drilled a 1-2 pitch from Lander reliever McKenzi Ferguson (3-6) to the right center field gap to score sophomore shortstop Taylor Johnson from first base.

FMU freshman right-hander Sydney Holland (8-3) earned the win as she scattered six hits over eight innings, while fanning seven and walking only one.

A two-out RBI single slapped through the left side by senior center fielder Mikala Barnhart gave Francis Marion a 1-0 advantage in the fourth frame.  The Bearcats (7-13, 0-2) responded in their next at bat with the tying run.  Brianna Surrento plated the Lander run with an RBI groundout.

Senior second baseman Taylor Brunson was the lone Patriot with multiple hits in game one as she finished 2-for-4.  Her counterpart at second for Lander, Destiny Clyde (2-for-3), also collected two hits in the opener as did Bearcat left fielder Reychel Webster (2-for-3).

FMU freshman righty Cristi Pressley (3-0) tossed a three-hit shutout in game two.  Making her first collegiate start, she struck out three and issued only one base-on-balls.

Johnson put FMU on the board with a run-scoring single to left center in the bottom of the second. Chiudina and Welty clouted solo home runs to left center on consecutive pitches in the last of the third to highlight a four-run outburst.  The third tally scored on a Bearcat fielding error and Johnson followed with a two-out RBI-double to right centerfield.

A two-out infield error allowed an insurance run for the Patriots in the sixth inning.

Chiudina, the reigning PBC Player of the Week, finished the second contest 3-for-4, while Johnson and freshman right fielder Rayni Newman both recorded two hits.  Johnson has now reached base safely in 19 consecutive games.  Chiudina made possibly the best defensive play of the day with a diving snag in foul territory to end the top of the sixth inning in game two.  She leads the Patriots with six homers and 26 RBIs through the opening 20 contests.

Lander starter Hannah Newton (2-3) allowed three runs and was tagged with the loss.  Webster collected her third hit of the twinbill in game two.

FMU senior left fielder Briana Barzola had her 15-game hitting streak snapped in Saturday's opener, but she registered a hit in game two.


VIEW Holcomb's game-winning hit BELOW


Francis Marion Univ. 2, Lander University 1 (Mar 04, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Lander University...   000 010 00 -  1  6  3      (7-12, 0-1 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 000 100 01 -  2  7  0      (15-4, 1-0 PBC)
Pitchers: Lander University - Brianna Surrento; McKenzi Ferguson (5) and Chandler Carey.
Francis Marion Univ. - Sydney Holland and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Sydney Holland (8-3)  Loss-McKenzi Ferguson (3-6)  T-1:58  A-110
Weather: Clear,Sunny,49,Winds Calm
Two outs when winning run scored


Francis Marion Univ. 6, Lander University 0 (Mar 04, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Lander University...   000 000 0 -  0  3  2      (7-13, 0-2 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 014 001 X -  6 11  0      (16-4, 2-0 PBC)
Pitchers: Lander University - Hannah Newton; McKenzi Ferguson (3); Lexi Griffin (6) and
Chandler Carey. Francis Marion Univ. - Cristi Pressley and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Cristi Pressley (3-0)  Loss-Hannah Newton (2-3)  T-1:48
HR FMU_SB - Sam Chiudina (6); Chelsea Welty (3).
Weather: Clear,Sunny,54,Wind calm