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Furman Upsets Fourth-Ranked South Carolina, 4-2

Furman Upsets Fourth-Ranked South Carolina, 4-2

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman pitcher Daniel Stallsmith pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid ball to lead Furman to a 4-2 victory over nationally fourth-ranked and defending national champion South Carolina in baseball action Tuesday evening at chilly Fluor Field.

Stallsmith (2-1), who two weeks ago dazzled Georgia in a 3-0 shared shutout of the Bulldogs at Fluor Field, improved to 3-0 in his career against Southeastern Conference foes, allowing only five hits and two unearned runs to the Gamecocks.  He walked one and struck out two.

The junior left-hander didn't allow his first hit until two outs in the fifth inning and worked deep into the sixth before departing with a 4-2 lead.

Matt Plate came on relief of Stallsmith to get the final out in the sixth and hurled 2 1/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing one hit and walk.  

Dylan Cole then took over in the ninth, negotiating around a leadoff walk to record the final three outs and earn his third save of the season.

The victory snapped a five-game losing skid for Furman (7-11) and marked the highest ranked opponent the Paladins have defeated under head coach Ron Smith, besting Furman's win 5-4 win over fifth-ranked South Carolina (11-3) in 2001.  The Paladins have beaten USC six times over the last 11 seasons.

Taylor Johnson went 3-for-3 and drove in a run to lead Furman's nine-hit attack, and Paul Nitto banged out two hits and drove in a run.  

Adrian Morales had two of USC's six hits.

The Paladins got on the board first with two runs in the second against Gamecock starting pitcher Adam Westmoreland (0-1).  Johnson led off with a single and moved to third on a J.B. Jenkins single before coming home on a balk.  With Jenkins at second Nitto stroked a single up the middle to plate the second run.

Furman scored two more in the fifth, loading the bases with a hit batsman, a Will Muzika double, and intentional walk to Will Miller before Johnson bounced a base into center field to plate Aaron Thompkins.  Jenkins got the second home run home after working Gamecock reliever Jose Mata for a bases loaded walk.

South Carolina scored two unearned runs in the sixth on a pair of hits and a Furman error.  Adam Matthews opened the frame with a bunt single then advanced to second after Paladin second baseman Kevin O'Leary misplayed a grounder off the bat of Jackie Bradley, Jr.  With one out Morales drove home Matthews.  Bradley later scored on Robert Beary's two-out single to left field, after which Plate was summoned from the bullpen to retire Evan Marzilli on a groundout to end the inning.

Plate retired the Gamecocks in order in the seventh and worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth to strand a pair of runners.

Cole came on in the ninth and retired Peter Mooney on a flyout, Scott Wingo on a strikeout, and Maizilli, who had walked, on a force play at second base to end the game.

Furman opens a three-game Southern Conference series at Wofford on Friday.  First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.

Pictured:  Furman junior pitcher Daniel Stallsmith.