JOHNSON CITY, TENN. -- John Michael Bertrand pitched six strong innings and Furman used a pair of big innings at the plate to beat East Tennessee State, 9-4, in Southern Conference baseball action Sunday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
The victory earned Furman (24-26, 9-12 SoCon) their third series win of the season — all on the road — and marked the Paladins' seventh triumph in the last eight meetings with ETSU (26-21, 10-11 SoCon).
Bertrand, a redshirt freshman left-hander, didn't surrender his first hit until Chris Cook led off the fourth with a single, and his first run until Jackson Greer hit a two-out solo home run in the fifth. The Alpharetta, Ga., product retired the Bucs in order in the sixth and took a 5-1 lead into the seventh before running into trouble, when he yielded a solo home run to Caleb Longley and two-run Aaron Maher blast that cut the Paladins' lead to 5-4.
Bertrand's replacement, Tyler Kimbrell got all three outs in the seventh to preserve the one-run advantage and then struck out the side in the eighth before stranding a pair of base runners in the ninth to secure the verdict for Furman.
Bertrand (5-3) collected the victory, allowing four runs on five hits over his six-plus innings of work. He walked one and struck out four.
Kimbrell earned his sixth save of the campaign after shutting out the Bucs over the final three innings. The senior right-hander allowed two hits and walk while striking out five.
The solid work by Bertrand and Kimbrell was supported by a potent Paladin offense that banged out 12 hits, including two each by Ben Anderson, Jake Crawford, Logan Taplett, and Brett Huebner. Anderson's day featured a two-run triple, his Furman season record setting seventh of the campaign, that staked Furman to a 3-0 second inning lead.
The Paladins added single runs in the fourth and fifth to stretch their advantage to 5-4 before ETSU cut it to 5-4 with the three-run seventh.
Furman responded with four runs in the eighth, fueled by six hits, including Anderson's third RBI of the game — a single that drove home Huebner. Jabari Richards extended his hitting streak to a team best 12 games with a single that scored Sims Griffith to make it 9-4.
ETSU finished with seven hits.
Bucs' starting pitcher Drew Korzybski (2-4) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits over four innings. He walked four and fanned eight.
The Paladins return home to entertain Gardner-Webb on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. before playing host to UNCG in the final SoCon series of the regular season beginning on Thursday. The Spartans wrapped up the league regular season title on Sunday by completing a three-game sweep of The Citadel in Charleston.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information