FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University erased an early five-run deficit, but UNC Pembroke answered with the game’s next six runs to claim an 11-5 victory over the Patriots, Friday night (April 22) in the opening game of a key Conference Carolinas baseball series.

The two teams will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 2 p.m. on FMU’s Cormell Field at Sparrow Stadium.

Francis Marion, which entered the game leading the nation in total hits and third in batting average, drops to 28-14 overall and 15-10 in the league.  UNCP improves to 30-13 and 18-7.

Four Patriots registered two hits in the loss: senior right fielder Will Hardee, junior shortstop Naphis Llanos, graduate student first baseman Darius Nobles, and junior catcher Isaac Schuck.  Hardee extended his hitting streak to 20 games, equaling the fifth-longest in team history, while Nobles pushed his hitting streak to 13 games.

FMU sophomore right-hander Halton Hardy (5-2) worked five innings and was tagged with the loss.  He was followed by three relievers.

The Braves plated two runs in the third on consecutive RBI groundouts, and then plated three in the top of the fourth to assume a 5-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the frame, Francis Marion sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five times to knot the score.  Graduate student left fielder Lex Tuten, senior center fielder Bill Hanna, Schuck and Hardee all recorded run-scoring singles, and one run came home on a failed pick-off attempt.

However, UNCP answered quickly with a single run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Trent Harris.  The Braves added four insurance runs in the seventh and one in the eighth while holding the Patriots scoreless over the final five innings.

Freshman righty reliever Will Harris (1-0) earned his first collegiate decision with four scoreless innings of work.

First baseman Gage Hammonds led UNCP with two hits and three RBIs.

UNC Pembroke 11, Francis Marion Univ. 5 (Apr 22, 2022 at Florence, SC)

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UNC Pembroke…….. 002 310 410  – 11 13  2      (30-13, 18-7 CC)

Francis Marion Univ. 000 500 000  –  5 10  3      (28-14, 15-10 CC)

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Pitchers: UNC Pembroke – Darren Bowen; Will Harris(5); Tyler Strickland(9) and Garrett Littleton

. Francis Marion Univ. – Halton Hardy; Reece Kleinhelter(6); Cory Poulsen(8); Chas DeBruhl(9)

and Isaac Schuck.

Win-Will Harris(1-0)  Loss-Halton Hardy(5-2)  T-3:15  A-216

Weather: clear, 83, 4 mph winds west

GAME NOTES
» Francis Marion’s highest scoring inning was the fourth, when it pushed five runs across.
» Four Francis Marion hitters had multiple base knocks in the ballgame.
» Francis Marion left 11 runners stranded on base in the loss.
» Francis Marion went 4-for-13 (.308) with runners in scoring position.
» Francis Marion pitchers faced 41 North Carolina-Pembroke hitters in the game, allowing 14 ground balls and two fly balls while striking out nine.
» The Patriots drew five walks from North Carolina-Pembroke pitching.
» Schuck led the Patriots at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
» North Carolina-Pembroke was led offensively by senior Gage Hammonds, who went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI.
» Freshman Will Harris led the Braves pitching staff, throwing four scoreless innings.

Courtesy – Francis Marion Patriots