Francis Marion edges North Georgia
Patriots surrender five-run lead, win on walk-off passed ball
FLORENCE, S.C. -- Junior pinch-runner Jarrod Reed scored on a passed ball with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Francis Marion a dramatic 7-6 win against 15th-ranked North Georgia on Monday as the Patriots won the rubber game of the series.
North Georgia (10-5, 3-3) rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the top of the ninth to take a 6-5 lead. The tying and go-ahead runs scored on a potential game-ending, double-play bouncer that was thrown away at first base.
FMU junior third baseman Stephen Tarkenton was hit by Saints’ righty Jordan Erisman (1-1) to begin the bottom of the ninth. Senior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie forced Tarkenton at second base with a dribbler to third, but junior designated hitter Will Chandler laced his third hit of the game up the middle, sending Sosnoskie racing to third base. Reed then entered the game as a pinch runner for Chandler at first.
Junior right fielder Reggie Weatherford then singled through the right side tying the game at 6-6 and sending Reed to third. With one out and the infield drawn in, Erisman’s first pitch to junior first baseman Luke Tollison was slightly off the plate and it ticked off the catcher’s mitt and rolled toward the backstop as Reed came home with the winning run.
Tollison (3-for-4) and senior second baseman Brock McCallister (3-for-5) joined Chandler (3-for-5) with three hits on the afternoon. Chandler doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs, while McCallister had one RBI to run his series total to eight.
FMU junior shortstop Michael Wilson was 2-for-4, while Tarkenton was 2-for-3. McCallister and Tarkenton have 13 and 11 multi-hit games respectively this season.
Senior right-handed reliever Jarrott Hooks (3-0) was the beneficiary of the rally despite only throwing to one batter in the top of the ninth.
The Patriots seemed to be cruising to an easy 5-1 victory as junior righty Spencer Jordan allowed the Saints only three hits and one unearned run through the first eight innings. However, after fanning the lead-off batter in the ninth, he allowed a walk and back-to-back doubles. Junior right-hander Gary Ashcraft then entered the game, but the Saints stung him for a double, single, and a walk before the potential double-play grounder was errored on.
Jordan finished his stint with seven strikeouts.
FMU took a 1-0 lead in the second when Chandler doubled to deep right-center field and scored on Tollison’s one-out RBI single to left. The margin expanded to 4-0 in the fifth as McCallister laced an RBI-single to left and Chandler doubled home two runs.
Both teams scored in the seventh. North Georgia’s Travis Naraine scored from second base on an infield error in the top of the frame and Sosnoskie plated McCallister with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.
Naraine was the lone Saint to have multiple hits as he was 2-for-3 and scored twice Right fielder Andrew Gordon had a two-run double in the ninth inning.