No. 11 Pirates Fall To No. 6 Patriots In PBC Tournament, 9-7
COLUMBUS, Ga. - No. 6-ranked Francis Marion staved off elimination at the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Tournament by edging the No. 11-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad, 9-7, on Friday evening at Golden Park in Columbus, Ga.
FMU (37-17), the East Division's two seed, came into the game with one loss while Armstrong (38-14), the East Division's one seed, came in undefeated. With the win the Patriots and Pirates will play a win-or-go-home game tomorrow, May 12 at 3 p.m. with the winner advancing to the PBC Championship game on Sunday.
Senior Jarrott Hooks took home the win to improve to 7-0 on the season as he pitched 6.0 innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. Sophomore Jeffrey Stoner came in and pitched the final 1.1 innings picking up his second save of the day and ninth of the season.
Junior Ross Beach of Armstrong took home the loss pitching 1.2 innings with a pair of walks and five runs given up.
The Patriots opened the scoring in the very first inning as sophomore Tyler Wilson led off with a triple to right centerfield. Senior Brock McCallister followed with a single through the right side to give FMU a 1-0 lead. A walk and a single loaded the bases for the Patriots with no outs but back-to-back-to-back weak groundballs allowed the Pirates to survive the inning with just one run allowed.
The Pirates responded in the top of the second as junior Chris Zittrouer led off with a single that just got past the second baseman. Sophomore Clayton Miller followed with a double down the left field line to score Zittrouer and was then gunned down at third trying to stretch the double into a triple.
FMU retook the lead in the bottom of the inning as McCallister hit a two-out triple down the right field line to score Wilson who had reached on a fielder's choice. Senior Buddy Sosnoskie added to the lead as he hit a double down the left field line to score McCallister and put the Patriots up 3-1. The double gave Sosnoskie 22 for the season which tied the FMU school record for doubles in a season which was set back in 1988 by Jeff Parsons. He would later break the record in the bottom of the eighth with a double to right center. Junior Jacob Golliday followed with a single to right center to score both Sosnoskie and junior Jarrod Reed who had reached on a walk earlier in the inning to extend the Patriots lead to four. Golliday would be the final batter that Armstrong starter Beach would face as he left the game after 1.2 innings of work.
The Patriots tacked on three more runs in the third as Wilson hit an RBI double to centerfield to score senior Tyler Boyd. Just one batter later junior Jarrod Reed hit a two-RBI single to right field to score Wilson and senior Brian Paulhus to give FMU an 8-1 lead.
The Pirates began to work their way back into the game in the fourth as a pair of errors cost the Patriots three runs. Senior Alex Frederick drew a bases loaded hit by pitch and was followed by a two-RBI single from senior Drew Walker to cut the Patriots lead to just 8-4.
Both teams went scoreless over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings until the Pirates broke through in the eighth with a walk and back-to-back-to-back singles to score their fifth run of the game. A sacrifice fly by Frederick scored Armstrong's second run of the inning to cut the lead to just two. A groundout RBI by Walker chased reliever Don Sandifer from the game as the lead was cut to 8-7. Sandifer pitched 1.2 innings of relief with two strikeouts and two walks. He allowed three runs off of three hits.
Sosnoskie's record-breaking double in the eighth led to FMU's ninth run of the game as he hit a lead-off double to right center and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. A groundout by junior Stephen Tarkenton sent Sosnoskie home for the 9-7 lead.
FMU was led by Sosnoskie who went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Wilson, McCallister and Paulhus all added two hits each.
Armstrong was led by Walker who drove in three runs while going 1-for-5 at the plate. Three Pirates had two hits each including Miller, Cody Powell and Tanner Jones.