FLORENCE, S.C. – Senior first baseman Preston Shuey homered and drove in three runs and sophomore right-hander Don Sandifer won his fifth straight decision as 13th-ranked Francis Marion University defeated 20th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University 5-3, Saturday in the opening game of a three-game Peach Belt Conference weekend baseball series.


Francis Marion improves to 16-6 overall and 3-1 in the PBC, while AASU (16-4, 0-1) was playing it first conference game of the season and first road contest of the year. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.

Sandifer (5-1) struck out 10, walked no one, and scattered eight hits after taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning for the fourth consecutive start. He did have his streak of innings without allowing an earned run stopped at 38.2 innings when the Pirates pushed across a two-out run in the fourth.

Shuey was 2-for-4 as was junior designated hitter John Jones and junior catcher Brian Paulhus.

Three Pirates collected two hits apiece: John Roberts, Drew Walker, and Mike Barnhill. AASU junior lefty Chandler Hall (4-1) suffered his first loss despite a complete-game effort that saw him fan two and walk one.

FMU scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first when leadoff man Michael Wilson reached on an error and hustled into second base on the play. He scored on a two-out single to left field by Shuey. The Patriots doubled the margin to 2-0 in the fourth when Tyler Boyd led off with a single and scored on a two-out double to left center by Paulhus.

The Pirates ended Sandifer's streak in the top of the fifth as Walker led off with a single, moved to second on a hit-and-run infield single, and scored on a two-out single up the middle by right fielder Josh Purvis.

FMU pushed the margin back to two runs at 3-1 on an RBI single by Tyler Cappelmann in the sixth inning. Shuey added needed insurance runs in the seventh with a two-run homer to left center field, and in the process extended his FMU career RBI record to 174.

Roberts drilled a two-run shot down the left field line to draw the Pirates to within 5-3 in the eighth. Sandifer stranded one runner on second later in that frame and set the Pirates down in order in the ninth inning.