Nitto Powers Furman Past UNC Greensboro, 11-3
GREENSBORO, N,C. -- Paul Nitto doubled twice and drove in a career high six runs to power Furman past UNC Greensboro, 11-3, Friday evening in the opening game of a three-game Southern Conference series at UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The win marked the seventh triumph for Furman (14-13, 4-6 SoCon) in the last eight meetings with UNC Greensboro (14-11, 3-7 SoCon). The Paladins and Spartans play game two of the series on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Nitto, a junior catcher from Greenville and J.L. Mann High School, delivered a two-out, three-run double in the third inning to give Furman a 4-0 lead and an inning later stroked a two-run double into the left center field gap to extend the Paladins' advantage to 9-0. He notched his sixth RBI in the sixth when Will Miller scored from third on an infield error.
For Nitto, the six RBI topped his previous career high of five runs batted in registered in a 16-inning contest against Western Carolina a year ago.
Furman banged out 13 hits in the contest on the way to its third SoCon win in the last four outings. Miller continued his recent torrid hitting pace by going 3-for-5 with an RBI, stolen base, and three runs scored, and Will Owens had a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
The strong run support made a winner of Bobby Lyne (4-2), who breezed through the first four innings before allowing three runs in the fifth. He yielded five hits and a pair or walks while striking out two.
UNCG starting and losing pitcher Corey Taylor (2-2) was roughed up for five runs on six hits over 3 1/3 innings. He walked three and fanned two.
Heath Burton got Furman's big evening off to quick start with a solo home run to left field, the first of his career, in the first to stake the Paladins to a 1-0 lead.
The Paladins scored three times in the third, all after two outs. Singles by Will Miller and Taylor Johnson, and a walk by Will Muzika loaded the bases, and Nitto followed with a double to right field off Taylor that cleared the bases.
Furman tacked on five more runs in the fourth on the strength of RBI singles by Owens, Miller, a bases loaded walk by Muzika, and Nitto's two-run double that plated Miller and Taylor Johnson.
The Paladins made it 10-0 in the fifth on Owens' double to left center field that drove home Chris Ohmstede.
After UNC got to Lyne for three runs in its half of the fifth, Nitto closed out the scoring with his sixth RBI of the contest in the sixth to give the Paladins the 11-3 bulge.
Six Paladin pitchers combined to limit UNCG to just five hits in the contest. The Spartans aided the Paladins with three errors.
Will Miller's 3-for-5 performance versus UNCG made him 21-for-48 (.438) over the last 12 games. The victory marked the Paladins' third SoCon triumph in their last four games. In going 1-for-4, Alex Abrams has now reached base in 26 consecutive games.