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Furman Sweeps Saturday Doubleheader With 8-5 Win Over Michigan State, 5-1 Triumph Over Cincinnati

Will Muzika
Will Muzika

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman swept a baseball doubleheader on Saturday, downing Michigan State, 8-5, and taking down Cincinnati, 5-1, in the First Pitch Invitational at Fluor Field.

The victories improved Furman to 5-1 on the season.  The Paladins play at South Carolina on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.

In Saturday's first game, the Paladins fell behind 5-0 before rallying for eight runs to notch their second victory over Michigan State this season.  Will Muzika's two-out, two-run triple down the right field line in the sixth inning gave the Paladins a 6-5 lead, and Hunter Burton followed with double into the left field corner to score Muzika and complete the five-run frame.

Furman added an unearned run in the seventh to stretch its advantage to 8-5.

The Paladin bullpen, which worked five innings of one-hit, shutout ball against the Spartans, preserved the lead and capped the comeback with a perfect ninth from Matt Solter, who struck out two in notching his second save of the campaign.

Michigan State grabbed a 5-0 lead in the fourth, combining five hits with two Paladin errors, and a wild pitch against starting pitcher Elliott Warford.

The Paladins began their comeback in the fourth with an RBI grounder by Alex Abrams that scored Burton.

Furman made it 5-2 an inning later on a Muzika sacrifice fly.

Paul Nitto led off the decisive sixth with a double to left field off Spartan starter David Garner and later scored on a Jake Jones single.  Michigan State's Mike Mestdagh relieved Garner and retired the first two batters he faced, but not before Chris Ohmstede cut the lead to 5-4 with an RBI groundout.  Mestdagh then walked Simpson before Muzika stepped up and cracked a fly ball into the right field corner that plated Jones and Simpson to give Furman its first lead of the game.

Nitto, Burton, and Ohmstede had two hits apiece for Furman, which racked up 11 hits in the contest.

Michigan State had seven hits, including two each by Blaise Salter and Joel Fisher.

The win went to Ryan Morse (1-0), who worked two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out one.

Mestdagh (0-1 was charged with the loss after surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits and a walk.

In game two against Cincinnati, Jarrod Rickman and Alex Abrams both cracked two-run home runs to lead Furman to the 5-1 victory.

Rickman spotted the Paladins a 2-0 lead in the second when he launched an offering by starting pitcher  Andrew Strenge over the green monster in left field.

In the Cincinnati fourth Devin Wenzel knocked Furman starting pitcher Jake Wolff out of the game with a line shot off the Paladin hurler's pitching shoulder.  Wolff's replacement, Emil Brignola, got Furman out of the inning when he got Ian Happ on a sharply hit fielder's choice groundout to second base.

Abrams made it 4-0 in the Furman fourth with a two-run shot that cleared the wall in right center field, scoring Paul Nitto, who had reached on a one-out single.

Cincinnati threatened in the sixth, opening the frame with a double and single off Furman reliever Ryan Griffith to put runners at first and third, but the Bearcats saw their chance for a big inning cut short when Paladin shortstop Hunter Burton dove to his left to snag a hard hit ball and start a double play.

Taylor Johnson gave the Paladins a 5-1 lead with an RBI single in the seventh.

Rickman went 2-for-3 with the two-run home run to pace Furman's nine-hit attack.  Abrams, in addition to his two-run round tripper, scored a pair of runs and also pitched 1 2/3 innings of no-hit scoreless relief with two strikeouts.

Brignola (1-0) was credited with the victory while Strenge (0-2) took the loss for Cincinnati, surrendering four runs, though only two were earned, on six hits over 3 1/3 innings.  He fanned six for the Bearcats, whose pitchers notched 12 strikeouts in the contest.