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Furman Drops Sunday Finale To Western Carolina, 5-2

Deon Sanders hit a 2-run home run in Sunday's 5-2 loss to Western Carolina.
Deon Sanders

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Taylor Purus hurled 8 1/3 innings of effective baseball to lead Western Carolina to a 5-2 victory over Furman in Southern Conference baseball action Sunday afternoon at Latham Stadium.

The win earned Western Carolina (6-39, 4-17 SoCon) its first back-to-back triumphs of the season and first series victory of the campaign after entering the weekend with just one win since Mar. 24.

Purus (2-10), who toed the rubber sporting a 8.38 earned run average in his 12 appearances (11 starts) this year, shut out Furman over eight-plus innings before pinch-hitter Deon Sanders hammered a two-run home run over the center field fence  in the ninth to break up the shutout bid.  The junior left-hander allowed two runs on six hits over his 8 1/3 innings of work, walking four and striking out seven.

Purus' teammates gave him all the support he would need in the third against Paladin starting and losing pitcher John Michael Bertrand (4-3), tallying three runs on five hits, including an RBI double from Colton Henthorne, and run-scoring singles by Spencer Holcomb and Justic Bigbie.

Western Carolina made it 4-0 an inning later on an RBI groundout by Andrew Robinson, and went up 5-0 in the ninth on a Cameron Blaquiere sacrifice fly.

Sanders' two-run home run with one out the ninth represented Furman's first extra base hit since Friday's 13-4 series opening win by the Paladins, and it chased Purus.  His replacement, Zach Franklin, retired the next two batters to secure the win.

Bigbie went 3-for-5 with an RBI to pace Western Carolina's 11-hit attack.  Tristan Baker doubled twice in his two plate appearances.

Jake Crawford had two of Furman's six hits, and freshman Ben Anderson extended his streak of reaching base successfully to 29 games with a hit and two walks.

Bertrand allowed four runs, all earned, on eight hits over six innings.  He walked one and struck out one.

The Paladins open a three-game series at East Tennessee State on Friday.