SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Kevin O'Leary's two-out single in the 12th inning drove home Will Muzika to lift Furman to a 3-2 victory over Wofford in the opening game of a three-game Southern Conference series Friday evening at Russell C. King Field.
The win was the fourth straight victory for Furman (8-11, 2-4 SoCon) over Wofford (11-7, 0-1 SoCon).
O'Leary's game winning hit came after Muzika drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on one-out pinch hit bunt single by Hunter Burton. A J.B. Jenkins fly out to right field moved Muzika to third, and from there the Spartanburg native and former Dorman High standout raced home on O'Leary's single off Wofford reliever John Cornely through the middle of the Terrier infield.
Dylan Cole (1-0), who pitched around a pair of baserunners in the 11th to retain the deadlock, retired the first two Terriers in the 12th before yielding a two-out single to James Foster and getting Clark Wise on a groundout to second base to end the game.
Cole, a sophomore right-hander and former teammate of Muzika's at Dorman, allowed three hits but struck out two in the final two frames to earn the victory.
Cornely (1-1) took the loss after pitching the final four innings, allowing a run on four hits. He walked four and fanned four.
The extra inning win overshadowed a superb pitching performance by Paladin starter Bobby Lyne, who allowed two runs on just three hits while working a career long nine innings. After yielding a game-tying run in the fifth, the junior right-hander mowed down the final 12 Terriers he faced. He walked three, struck out four, and threw 91 pitches, including 63 strikes.
Furman's inability to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities led to a no-decision for Lyne, who watched as his teammates put base runners on in sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings but failed to convert.
The Paladins' best scoring chance in that stretch came in the eighth after Will Miller led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but infield pop outs by Johnson and Jenkins, and an O'Leary fly out stranded Miller at third.
The frustration continued in extra innings as the Paladins stranded two runners in the 10th and had two players thrown out at home in the 11th. The first was Paul Nitto, who led off with a single and advanced to third on an outfield fielding error before being retired at the plate on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Rob Fondu. Fondu was later gunned out at the dish by Terrier right fielder Josh Hyman following an Aaron Thompkins single.
Paladin relief pitcher Steven Gary got Furman out of jam in the 10th by retiring Wise on a groundout with runners at first and third, and in the 11th Cole also stranded runners on the corners by inducing a David Roney to hit into an inning ending grounder.
Furman scored its only two runs in the first inning, combining three hits with a walk, an error, and a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead. Taylor Johnson's RBI single up the middle off Terrier starter Cash Collins scored Will Owens, and Thompkins scooted home for the second run on a error.
Wofford answered with a run in its first at bat after Wise drew a one-out walk and scored on a two-out Konstantine Diamaduros single to right field.
The Terriers' Matt Moore led of the fifth with a double and Alex Lee followed with a but single. Moore, who advanced to third on the play, came home on Foster's sacrifice squeeze to tie the game at 2-2.
Furman collected 12 hits, including two each by Thompkins, Miller, and Jenkins.
Foster and Matt Moore had two hits apiece for Wofford, which managed just eight hits in the contest.
Saturday's game is set for 3:00 p.m.
Pictured: Bobby Lyne