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Furman Completes Series Sweep Of Toledo, 8-5

Ben Carlson
Ben Carlson

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Ben Carlson pitched seven strong innings and Alex Abrams belted a three-run home run to power Furman to an 8-5 win over Toledo Sunday afternoon at windy Latham Stadium, completing the three-game series sweep of the Rockets.

The victory was the fourth straight for Furman (7-5) while the loss was the fourth consecutive setback for Toledo (3-6).

Carlson (1-1) was efficient in recording his second straight quality start, needing only 82 pitches to complete seven innings.  The junior right-hander from nearby Mauldin allowed two runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits while striking out three.  He did not walk a batter.

Carlson's effective work on the mound was backed up by solid Paladin offense highlighted by an Alex Abrams' three-run home run and three-hit performances by Taylor Johnson and Will Owens.  

Johnson doubled twice, drove in two runs, and recorded a stolen base while Owens capped a brilliant week with three singles, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Paul Nitto also had two hits and scored twice for the Paladins, who racked up 11 hits in the contest.

The loss was charged to Jared Locke (0-3), who yielded Abrams' three-run opposite field round tripper in the bottom of the first that gave Furman a 3-0 lead.

Toledo got on the board in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs on two hits and a Paladin error to make it a 3-2 game.

The Paladins sent nine men to the plate in the fifth, scoring four runs on five hits.  A Will Miller RBI double opened the scoring, and Nitto followed with a single through the right side to drive home Miller.  Three batters and a pitching change later, Johnson delivered a two-run double down the left field line off Rockets' reliever Cody Umbright to cap the outburst and give Furman a 7-2 lead.

Toledo's best chance to get back in the game came in the eighth when they combined an error with two walks to load the bases with one out.  Furman, however, avoided any damage after Paladin second baseman Will Muzika speared a sharp line drive off the bat of Jeff Cola and stepped on second base to complete the inning ending double play.

The Rockets tallied three in the ninth on a Joe Corfman two-out, three-run home run to left field off Paladin reliever Anthony Buonopane that made it 8-5.  Buonopane was relieved by Elliott Warford, who retired Ben Hammer on a ground out to end the game.

Furman plays at UNC Asheville on Tuesday.  First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.

Furman Notes:

Senior outfielder Will Owens batted .579 (11x19) with six RBI and seven runs scored in helping Furman complete a 4-0 week.  Owens, the Paladins' leadoff man, slugged .632 and recorded a .600 on-base percentage over the four games.  The sweep of Toledo improved the Paladins to 5-2 against Mid-America Conference teams this year, including a 2-2 split with Miami of Ohio.  Miami and Toledo were both preseason second place picks in their respective MAC divisions.