GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Nate Smith hurled 6 2/3 innings of strong ball, and No. 6 seed Furman used a five-run seventh inning to take command en route to a 10-1 victory over No. 3 seed Elon in Southern Conference Baseball Tournament first round action Wednesday evening at Fluor Field.
The Paladins (32-23), winners of six straight games, will play the winner of Thursday morning's 10:00 a.m. game between the College of Charleston and Georgia Southern at 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The victory was Furman's fifth in its last seven games with Elon (27-28).
Wednesday's triumph marked the 500th victory of Furman coach Ron Smith's Paladin coaching career, which spans 20 seasons.
Smith (7-4) checked Elon's bats, allowing only a run on six hits while surrendering just one walk. He struck out eight and threw 116 pitches in earning the victory. The Paladin senior left-hander took a shutout into the seventh inning and retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a pair of hits, which led to his exit.
Drake Browne, Elliott Warford, and Brant Masters combined to work the final 2 1/3 innings to secure the win.
Smith, who allowed only four hits over the first six innings, got early run support as the Paladins tallied single runs in the first, second, and third innings.
Greg Harrison's RBI triple to center field in the first inning off Elon starting pitcher Kyle Webb (6-3) gave Furman a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Chris Ohmstede rocketed a Webb offering over the 30-foot "Green Monster" wall in left field for his 14th clout of the season to give the Paladins a 2-0 lead.
Furman made it 3-0 in the third after Will Muzika doubled off the left field wall and scored on a Taylor Johnson single to center field.
It remained 3-0 until the seventh when the Paladins combined three hits, two walks, and a Phoenix error to blow the game open with five more runs. Ohmstede led off with a double down the third base line and scored on a fielder's choice. Harrison drew a bases loaded walk to stretch the advantage to 5-0, and Alex Abrams finished off the big inning with a three-run double to right center field.
Jordan Simpson finished off Furman's offensive display with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field in the eighth.
Furman registered 12 hits, with Muzika, Johnson, Abrams, Ohmstede, and Griffin Davis collecting two hits apiece. Muzika also scored three runs, while Ohmstede and Davis crossed the dish twice.
The Paladins roughed up Webb (6-3) for seven runs, though only four of which were earned, on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. The Phoenix right-hander, who had gone 6-0 with a 2.93 ERA against SoCon opposition this year, walked two struck out six.
The win improved Furman to 7-3 in games at Fluor Field this year. The Paladins' 32 victories are only one shy of the school season record of 33 wins (33-24) registered in 2008.
2013 Southern Conference Baseball Tournament
Game 4: #2 College of Charleston vs. No. 7 Georgia Southern, 10:00 a.m.
Game 5: Elon vs. Loser Game 4, 1:30 p.m.
Game 6: Samford vs. Appalachian State, 3:00 p.m. (at Furman's Latham Stadium)
Game 7: The Citadel vs. Western Carolina, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Furman vs. Winner Game 4, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, May 24 (Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)
Game 9: Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6, 3 p.m.
Game 10: Loser Game 8 vs. Winner Game 5, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 (Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)
Game 11: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10, 1:30 p.m.
^Game 13: Loser Game 11 vs. Winner Game 11, 5 p.m.
^Game 14: Loser Game 12 vs. Winner Game 12, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 26 (Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: Championship game (ESPN3), 2 p.m.
All times Eastern
^ If necessary. If Game 13 is not necessary, Game 14 will begin approximately 40 minutes after the conclusion of Game 12.