Furman Sweeps Davidson In Friday Doubleheader: 5-4 (12 Inn.), 3-2 (10 Inn.)
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman swept Davidson in a Friday Southern Conference doubleheader at Latham Stadium, posting a 5-4, 12-inning victory in game one and taking game two, 3-2, in 10 innings.
In winning the twinbill the Paladins (26-29, 13-17 SoCon) completed the three-game series sweep of the Wildcats (17-31, 8-22 SoCon) and finished the regular season tied for seventh with The Citadel in the conference standings. Furman, which won its final four league games, takes the No. 8 seed into Southern Conference Tournament action, scheduled for May 23-27 at Fluor Field in Greenville's West End, and will play Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. against the No. 1 seed, Appalachian State.
The two wins marked the first time in Furman baseball history (1896) the Paladins had won two extra inning games on the same day.
In the opener Will Miller singled with one out in the 12th inning, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored the game winning run on a Taylor Johnson sacrifice fly to give Furman the 5-4 decision.
The finish in game two was very similar. With the score knotted at 2-2, Hunter Burton led off the Paladin 10th with a single, swiped second, and advanced to third after Wildcat catcher Daniel Gerow's throw to second bounded into center field. After a walk, Zack Greenwell served a 2-1 offering from Davidson reliever Brian Russell into short center field for a single that drove home Burton for the winning run.
Both contests were extended to extra frames with clutch, two-out hitting.
In game one Furman trailed 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when pinch hitter Paul Nitto, making his first appearance in a game since being struck on the right wrist against Wofford on May 5, stroked a single off Wildcat starting pitcher Ryan Overcash through the left side of the infield to score Heath Burton and tie the game at 3-3. Burton, who had entered the game as a pinch runner with one out, stole second, and move to third on a throwing error before coming home on Nitto's base hit.
Davidson turned the tables on Furman in the ninth in the second game with a two-out, RBI single by Jake Berman that plated Seth Freeman from second base to knot the game at 2-2.
Furman racked up 13 hits in the opener, led by Will Miller's 3-for-6 performance. Johnson, Hunter Burton, and Jake Jones also collected two hits for the Paladins, who received strong relief pitching from Tyler Wood. The sophomore right hander came on the sixth with Davidson leading, 3-2, and shut out the Wildcats over the next four innings, surrendering only two while striking out three.
Wood gave way in the 10th to Elliott Warford, who yielded a run in the 11th before getting bailed out by a Jake Jones two-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning that deadlocked the game at 4-4. Johnson's game winning sacrifice fly in the 12th earned the victory for the freshman right-hander, who improved to 5-0 on the campaign.
Drew Gadaire and Andrew Barna had three hits apiece in Davidson's 14-hit effort in the opener.
The Paladins and Wildcats compiled 12 hits apiece in game two. Will Owens, Jarrod Rickman, and Hunter Burton registered two hits apiece for Furman, and Gadaire paced Davidson with two doubles, part of a 3-for-5 performance.
Michael Zeblo's solo home run in the second, the only round tripper of the day for either team, staked Davidson to a 1-0 lead before Furman tied it in the sixth with a Miller sacrifice fly that scored Owens.
Nitto's second pinch hit single of the day started the Furman eighth, and pinch runner Will Muzika later scored on a Jake Jones base hit to give the Paladins a 2-1 lead that Davidson matched with Berman's two-out RBI single in the ninth.
Furman used six pitchers in the second game, finishing with Stephen Gary (4-1), who earned the win after yielding a run on three hits in two innings of work. He walked one and fanned three.
Brian Russell (4-7) was charged with the loss in both games, with throwing errors leading to decisive unearned runs in each contest.