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Johnson Ninth Inning Blast Lifts Furman Past College of Charleston, 6-5

Taylor Johnson
Taylor Johnson

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. -- Taylor Johnson continued his assault on College of Charleston pitching with a two-run ninth inning home run that lifted Furman to a 6-5 win over the Cougars in Southern Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at the Ballpark at Patriots Point.

Johnson, who hit two home runs, tallied three RBI, and scored four times in the series opener, an 11-9 suspended game victory that was completed earlier Saturday afternoon, went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs and scored twice in game two.

Furman (21-16, 9-11 SoCon) will go for the series sweep in Sunday's 1:00 p.m. finale.

The Paladins, who never trailed in the game, led 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 before Johnson broke a 4-4 deadlock by drilling a ninth inning offering by Cougar reliever Dre Watts out of the park down the left field line.  Jake Jones, who stroked a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh, led off the ninth with an single — his sixth consecutive hit — and scored ahead of Johnson's clout.

Ben Carlson (4-2) was the beneficiary of the ninth inning long ball, earning the win after coming on in the eighth and helping the Paladins limit the Cougars to one run following a no-out, bases loaded jam.  Carlson surrendered a run in the ninth but closed out the game by retiring Cody Martin on a fly ball with a runner at second base.

Furman got another solid starting pitching performance from junior Alex Abrams, who tossed four innings of shutout ball and 70 pitches before turning over a 2-0 lead to the Paladin bullpen.  

A Chris Ohmstede RBI single and two-out RBI single by Andrew MacLatchie in the fourth gave Furman the lead, but it was erased in the fifth when the Cougars took advantage of a pair of walks, a hit bastman, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly against Paladin reliever Ryan Morse to knot the game at 2-2.

The two teams traded runs in the seventh and eighth, with Hunter Burton's two-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth driving home Jordan Simpson for a 4-3 Paladin advantage before the decisive ninth.

Furman posted an 11-10 edge in hits, with Johnson, Jones, and Simpson registering two hits apiece.

Devon Reed, Gunnar Heidt, and Martin had two hits each for College of Charleston (20-18, 11-8 SoCon)

The loss was charged to Watts (3-1), who allowed both Paladin runs in the ninth.