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Furman Comeback Flattens The Citadel, 14-10

Paul Nitto
Paul Nitto

GREENVILLE, S.C -- Jacques de Gruy threw 5 2/3 innings of solid relief and Furman came off the deck by erasing a 7-0 second inning deficit with 11 unanswered runs en route to a 14-10 victory over The Citadel in the final game of a three-game Southern Conference series Saturday evening at Latham Stadium.

The game, which was moved up from Sunday due to expected to rain in the Greenville area, was completed at 12:37 a.m. Sunday morning.

The win helped Furman (23-19, 10-14 SoCon) salvage a game in the series with The Citadel (27-18, 14-7 SoCon), which had both its 10-game overall winning streak and eight-game SoCon run of success halted.

The Bulldogs struck for six runs on six hits in the first inning against Paladin starting pitcher Jake Wolff, who recorded only one out before getting pulled.  Bailey Rush's two-run single highlighted the first inning outburst, and The Citadel made it 7-0 in the second when catcher Joe Jackson deposited a de Gruy offering over the right field fence.

The advantage didn't last an inning, however, as Furman regrouped and used ample vocal motivation supplied from the Bulldog dugout to fuel its impressive comeback, sending 12 batters to plate and scoring eight runs in the second.

With one out Paul Nitto singled to begin a stretch that saw eight consecutive Paladin batters reach base.  Jordan Simpson's bases loaded single scored Nitto to get Furman on the board.  Jake Jones then drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run, and Hunter Burton's two-run single to center field cut the lead to 7-4.  Taylor Johnson continued the onslaught with an RBI single, which chased battered Bulldog starter Austin Mason.  Greg Harrison followed by ripping an offering by Citadel reliever Kevin Connel into the left center field gap for a two-run double to tie the game at 7-7.  Chris Ohmstede finished off the rally with a single to left field to score Harrison and give Furman an 8-7 lead.

The Paladins made it 9-7 with a run in the third and added two more in the fourth for an 11-7 lead on a double by Nitto, who later scored on a ground out.

The Citadel trimmed the advantage to 11-8 with a run in the fifth, but Furman answered with three more in the bottom of the frame on Nitto's second double of the contest, a line shot off the left field fence, an Ohmstede RBI single, and ground out by Griffin Davis that plated Nitto.

de Gruy (2-1) spoiled the Bulldogs' threat for a big inning in the sixth by getting Joe Jackson to hit into a bases loaded double play and then spearing a line drive off the bat of Drew DeKerlegand for the final out.

Led by Nitto, who went 3-for-3 with a two doubles, two RBI, and three runs scored, the Paladins registered a season high 18 hits in the game.  Ohmstede matched Nitto with three hits and had two RBI.  Alex Abrams, Burton, Johnson,  Davis, and Simpson finished with two hits apiece.

de Gruy, whose season had included just four appearances prior to Saturday, earned the victory after allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.  He walked two and struck out four.

Connell (0-2) was charged with the loss.  He surrendered four runs on six hits over just 1 2/3 innings.

Furman's next game is Wednesday against Winthrop at Latham Stadium, with first pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.