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Furman's Wills' Play Long Ball To Defeat Wofford, 9-5

Will Muzika
Will Muzika

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman's three Wills — Will Miller, Will Muzika, and Will Owens — homered and combined to both drive in and score seven runs to power the Paladins to a 9-5 Southern Conference series clinching victory over Wofford in baseball action Sunday afternoon at Latham Stadium.

The win gave Furman (22-25, 9-15 SoCon) the series two games to one and allowed the Paladins to hold on to eighth place in the league standings with two conference series remaining on the schedule.  Furman plays at The Citadel next weekend and wraps up the 2012 regular season with a three game set at home against Davidson.  The top eight teams qualify for the SoCon Tournament, set for May 23-27 at Fluor Field in Greenville's West End.

The loss was the ninth for Wofford (19-28, 6-18 SoCon) in its last 10 clashes with Furman.

The home run trifecta by Miller, Muzika, and Owens, who have combined to hit 57 round trippers during the Paladin tenures, marked the second time the Paladin trio had homered in the same game, the only other occasion coming in an 11-3 victory over College of Charleston in 2010.

The Paladins needed the long ball to overcome a 3-0 deficit after Wofford's Konstantine Diamaduros drilled a pitch by Furman starting pitcher Tyler Wood over the right field fence for a three-run round tripper in the first inning.

Miller got Furman on the board with solo clout to left field off Terrier starter Cash Collins in the second.

The Paladins tied it at 3-3 in the fourth after Miller led off with a single and Muzika's line drive cleared the fence in left field for a two-run clout.

The two teams traded runs in the sixth before Wofford went up 5-4 in the seventh on a Mac Doyle RBI grounder that plated James Foster, whose slide beat a high throw from Paladin third baseman Chris Ohmstede.

Furman turned the game around with three runs in the bottom of the seventh.  Owens' leadoff home run tied it a 5-5, and with one out Taylor Johnson singled and Miller walked to bring Muzika to the plate.  On a 1-1 pitch the junior second baseman from Spartanburg ripped a double down the left field line to score Johnson and Miller for a 7-5 lead.

The Paladins added two more runs in the eighth, tallying the first on a defensive interference call on a rundown between third and home involving Furman's Heath Burton, and the second on a Miller RBI single through the right side that scored Owens.

Stephen Gary (3-0), who came on in the seventh in relief of Wood, earned his second win of the series by throwing no-hit ball over the final 2 2/3 innings.  He walked one and fanned three.

Collins (4-7) took the loss after surrendering seven runs on nine hits over seven frames.  He walked two and struck out a pair.

Furman out-hit Wofford 11-7, with Miller's 3-for-4, two-RBI, three-run performance leading the way.  Muzika went 2-for-4, drove in four runs, and scored twice.
Doyle led Wofford with two hits and an RBI.

Furman entertains Winthrop on Tuesday in the makeup of an earlier rained out contest.  First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.