April 10, 2010
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Aaron Thompkins stroked a game tying RBI single in the seventh inning and came around to score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch to help Furman take down 26th-ranked College of Charleston, 8-5, in the second game of a Southern Conference series at Latham Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Paladins (11-20, 5-9 SoCon), who have won six straight over the Cougars (23-10, 8-6 SoCon) in Greenville, will go for the series sweep in a 1:00 p.m. Sunday contest.
Trailing 5-4, Furman took advantage of a pair of hits, a hit batsman, an error, a balk, and a wild pitch to plate two runs in the seventh to take the lead for good.
Pinch-hitter Brian Harrison was plunked on the first pitch of the inning by College of Charleston starting pitcher Kevin Decker. Matt Bona, who pinch-ran for Harrison, moved to second on a sacrifice and then to third on a balk by Cougar reliever Tom Schiller. Thompkins followed with an RBI grounder up the middle against a drawn in infield to score Bona and tie the game at 5-5.
Will Muzika kept the rally going with a solid single that Cougar left-fielder Jose Rodriquez bobbled for an error, allowing Thompson to advance to third and Muzika to second. Schiller then uncorked a wild pitch, and Thompson sprinted home for the go-ahead run.
The Paladins used more sloppy play by the College of Charleston in the eighth to add two insurance runs. Will Miller led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Schiller's third wild pitch of the contest, which came on a strikeout of Reese Wade. Miller then came home on a passed ball, and Wade capped the two-run inning by scoring from second on Will Owens' two-out single to left field.
In the ninth a Paladin error put a runner on with one out, but Stephen Gary came on to induce CofC's Joey Bergman into a game ending double play grounder.
Furman's rally in the seventh and eighth made a winner of reliever Nate Smith (2-0), who yielded a two-run home run in the seventh to CofC's Rob Kral that gave the Cougars a brief 5-4 lead.
Jay Friedman worked a scoreless eighth and retired the leadoff batter in the ninth before giving way to Gary, who recorded his first save of the year.
Paladin starting pitcher Kevin Gaid fashioned his second solid outing in a row, working six innings and giving up five hits, three runs, and two walks while striking out seven before departing with a 4-3 lead.
The loss went to Schiller (4-1), who gave up three runs, though only one was earned, on three hits in two thirds of an inning.
Greg Blake led the College of Charleston by going 3-for-4 with two RBI.