GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Elliott Warford tossed four effective innings and four Paladin pitchers combined to record 14 strikeouts to help Furman beat Norfolk State, 5-2, in the 2014 baseball season opener for both teams Saturday afternoon in the First Pitch Invitational at Latham Stadium.
Warford (1-0) allowed two runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits over four frames. The junior right-hander walked two and fanned six in earning the victory.
Freshman Matthew Quarles followed Warford, working three scoreless innings and fanning three in his collegiate debut.
Furman scored all its runs in the first two innings, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an Alex Abrams' RBI single that drove in Jake Jones, and getting four more in the second off Norfolk State starting pitcher Justin Bhatti (0-1).
A single by Hunter Burton plated Andrew MacLatchie to break the 1-1 tie, and the Paladins added three more on a Jake Jones RBI single and sacrfice fly by Greg Harrison that drove home Jones. Hunter Burton also scored on the sacrifice fly play, racing home from third base after Spartans' catcher Omar Hotusing allowed the throw home to get past him to the backstop.
Norfolk State took advantage of a Furman error to push across a run in the fourth and make it 5-2.
From that point, however, the Paladin bullpen of Quarles, Morse, and Masters combined to shut out the Spartans and surrender just two hits and no walks while notching eight strikeouts over the final five innings.
Abrams had two of Furman's seven hits, and Jones scored twice. Norfolk State registered six hits in the contest, led by Tyon Ore, who homered and scored two runs for the Spartans.
Furman will play two games on Sunday, facing Xavier at 11:0 a.m. at Latham Stadium and Toledo in a 3:00 p.m. game at Fluor Field. StatBroadcast live stats will be presented for both contests through FurmanPaladins.com, and the Toledo contest will be audio live streamed through StretchAudio, also at FurmanPaladins.com.