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Furman Blasts Elon In Series Opener, 18-2

Will Owens
Will Owens

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Will Owens went 4-for-5, drove in three runs, and scored four times to help Furman blast Elon, 18-2, in the opening game of a Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at Latham Stadium.

Owens' four hits, which included a leadoff home run in the first inning, headlined a season high 17-hit attack for Furman (16-15, 6-7 SoCon), which blew the game open with an 11-run fifth inning that saw the Paladins send 16 batters to the plate.

The 11-run frame was the highest tally by the Paladins since the 2007 campaign, and the 18 runs marked Furman's biggest scoring outburst since 2006 and most runs registered by Furman in the 37-game series with Elon (18-12, 11-5 SoCon).

The loss halted a four-game SoCon winning streak by the Phoenix.

The generous run support made an winner of Furman starting pitcher Bobby Lyne (5-2), who allowed two runs on nine hits over six innings.  He walked one and struck out six in notching his third consecutive victory in league play.

Hunter Burton doubled, tripled, and scored four runs as part of a 3-for-5 performance, and Chris Ohmstede belted a three-run home run to highlight a 2-for-4 evening.

Heath Burton, Taylor Johnson, and Paul Nitto also registered two hits apiece for the Paladins, who grabbed a 1-0 lead with Owens' leadoff home run, his first of the season, that cleared the 330' fence down the right field line.

In the second Nitto also collected his first home run of the campaign with a solo round tripper into the hedge beyond the left field fence that gave the Paladins a 2-0 lead.

After Elon cut it to 2-1 in the fourth, the Paladins exploded with 11 runs in the fifth, sending Phoenix starting and losing pitcher Dylan Clark (6-2) to an early shower.

An Owens RBI single got the Paladins' big frame going, and Heath Burton followed with a run scoring double.  Nitto added an RBI single, and pinch hitter Jake Jones slapped a two-run double down the left field line to make it 8-1.  Ohmstede then greeted Elon reliever Darren Lauer with a towering three-run home that bounded off the foul pole in left field, stretching the advantage to 11-1.  Owens tallied his second hit and RBI of the inning with a double that plated Hunter Burton and capped the scoring for the Paladins by coming home on a Johnson single, giving the Paladins a 13-2 lead.

Furman added two more runs in the seventh and a three-spot in the eighth on a hit batsmen with the bases loaded and a dropped infield pop that allowed two unearned runs to score.

Jake Luce had three of Elon's nine hits, and Alex Swim extended his hitting streak to 24 games with a first inning single.

The two teams will play a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.