Johnson, Paladins Race Past The Citadel, 12-3
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Taylor Johnson tripled, doubled, and drove in two runs and Furman took advantage of a porous Citadel defense to claim a 12-3 Southern Conference victory in the opening game of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at windy Latham Stadium.
Johnson, a junior designated hitter from Greer, S.C., tripled in a pair of runs in the first inning, doubled in the third, reached on an error and scored in the fifth, and walked in the sixth to help Furman (18-18, 8-7 SoCon) snap a nine-game losing skid to The Citadel (13-21, 7-12 SoCon).
The Bulldogs committed seven errors in the contest, making 10 of Furman's 12 runs unearned.
The Citadel's miscues, combined with Furman's 15 hits, helped the Paladins break open a 2-2 game in the fourth inning with a run in the fifth and five more in the sixth. Furman blew the game open with four more in the eighth aided by a pair of Bulldog errors.
Furman starter Bobby Lyne (2-2), who entered the game having been supported by only three total runs in four of his five SoCon starts this spring, earned the victory after working six innings and allowing two runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Bulldog starter Matt Talley (2-4), the preseason SoCon Pitcher of the Year, was charged with the loss. He was touched up for eight runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings, but only two of the runs he allowed were earned. The senior left-hander didn't help his own cause, committing fielding and throwing errors in the decisive five-run Paladin fifth.
Paul Nitto paced the Paladin attack with a 3-for-5 performance, and Will Miller went 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs. Hunter Burton, meanwhile, had two hits in four at bats, scored two runs, and recorded a stolen base.
The Citadel tallied 12 hits, including three each by Nick Orvin and Justin Mackert.
Johnson's two-run triple into the right center field gap in the first inning staked Furman to a 2-0 lead.
The CItadel tied the game in the third on a Brad Felder two run double into the right field corner.
It remained tied until the fifth when Mackert misplayed a two-out grounder off the bat of Furman's Alex Abrams at first base, allowing Johnson to score from third base to give Furman a 3-2 advantage.
The Paladins came back in the sixth to make it 8-2, using a two Citadel errors along with four hits to plate five runs. Miller's two-run single through the left side highlighted the frame.
Saturday's game is a scheduled 4:00 p.m. start.
Pictured: Furman pitcher Bobby Lyne