Baseball

 

Nitto Lifts Furman Past Miami (Ohio), 6-5

Paul Nitto

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Paul Nitto went 3-for-5 and drove in five runs to power Furman past Miami University, 6-5, in First Pitch Invitational baseball action Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field.

The win improves Furman to 2-0 on the season while Miami falls to 0-2.  The two teams will face each other again next Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Latham Stadium on Furman's campus.

Holding a 3-2 lead, Furman loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh when Nitto, a product of Greenville's J.L. Mann High School, lifted a pop fly into a strong wind in short left field.  Struggling to get under the ball, Redhawks shortstop Scott Slappey dove to make the play but his contact with the ground jarred the ball loose, allowing three runs to score to give Furman a 6-2 lead.

Miami made it 6-5 in the eighth on Alex Johnson's three-run home run to deep left center field off Paladin reliever Drake Browne.

Called on in relief of Browne, Ben Carlson yielded a single to Kevin Bower and one-out single to Slappey before striking out John Crummy and retiring Matt Packer on a fly to center field to end the threat.

Matt Solter came on the ninth for Furman and retired the Redhawks in order, striking out two, including Matt Honchel looking to end the game, to notch the save.

The Paladins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first off Miami starting and losing pitcher Mac Thoreson (0-1), getting an RBI double from Hunter Burton and RBI grounder from Nitto that plated Burton.

The Redhawks tied it at 2-2 in the second on Crummy's two run single to right field.

Will Muzika led off the Furman third with a double to left field and later scored on a Nitto two-out double down the right field line.

It remained 3-2 until the seventh when Harrison Farmer led off with a single, Hunter Burton delivered a bunt single down the third base line, and Taylor Johnson was intentionally walked with two outs to load the bases ahead of Nitto, whose bases clearing, wind-aided single found the turf approximately 35 feet in the outfield grass behind shortstop.

Furman sophomore right-hander Jake Wolff (1-0), making only his second career start, worked five solid innings to record the win.  The Mountain Rest, S.C., product and Walhalla High graduate allowed two runs on four hits while walking one and recording one strikeout.

Furman out-hit Miami 12-10, getting three hits each from Nitto and Muzika.  Hunter Burton and Farmer  had two hits apiece.

Johnson, Slappey, and Dan Walsh paced Miami with two hits.

Furman returns to action on Wednesday with a 3:00 p.m. home game at Latham Stadium against Gardner-Webb.