FLORENCE, SC – Seven Francis Marion University pitchers combined on a four-hitter and a two-out wild pitch helped lead to a four-run fifth inning as the No. 2 ranked Patriots claimed a 4-1 victory over cross-town rival Coker College, Wednesday afternoon in non-conference baseball action.
Francis Marion wins for the fifth straight outing and ups its record to 12-2. The Cobras suffer their third consecutive loss to FMU and fall to 10-8.
Senior right-hander Josh Biggers (1-0), the fifth of the Patriot hurlers, earned the win with a pair of scoreless innings. Senior righty Brandon Forshee picked up his sixth save of the season (in seven opportunities) with a scoreless ninth inning.
Coker junior Matt Long (Florence, S.C.) (4-2) allowed the four runs and was tagged with the loss.
Coker took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third frame when Drew Hardee (Rock Hill, S.C.) doubled to left field, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on an RBI-single through the right side by center fielder Brinley Griffin (Port St. John, Fla.).
The Patriots responded with four runs in the fifth. Second baseman Brooks Arnette scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Cappelmann. With two outs and runners on first and third, Alex Lee struck out but reached first when the ball eluded the Coker catcher. Jacob Wallace also scored on the wild pitch putting the Patriots in front 2-1. One batter later, junior first baseman Preston Shuey drilled a 2-run single through the left side that gave FMU a 4-1 advantage.
Coker managed only one hit and three base runners over the final four frames.
Senior center fielder Graham Couch led Francis Marion at the plate with a 3-for-4 day that extended his hitting streak to seven games. Arnette finished the game 2-for-4.
Griffin was 2-for-4 to lead the Cobras, while Hardee was 1-for-3.
FMU opens Peach Belt Conference play this weekend against USC Aiken, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. Coker plays a twinbill at Belmont Abbey College, Saturday at noon.