FMU Baseball Roundup
By Michael G. Hawkins
Jordan helps Patriots avoid Pirate attack in NCAA regional
Thursday, May 17 – MOUNT OLIVE, NC – Junior right-hander Spencer Jordan pitched seven strong innings and senior second baseman Brock McCallister collected three hits and a pair of two-out RBIs to lead fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked Francis Marion University to an 11-2 win over third-seeded and seventh-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University, Thursday morning (May 17) in a first-round game at the 2012 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.
The six-team, double-elimination tournament is being hosted by Mount Olive College on its Scarborough Field.
Francis Marion (38-16) advances to face the Tusculum/Catawba winner on Friday at 7 p.m. FMU snaps string of tournament-opening losses as the Patriots had dropped their first game in each of their past five post-season tournaments dating back to the 2009 NCAA regional at USC Aiken.
Armstrong (40-15) will meet the Mount Olive/Lander winner on Friday at 3 p.m.
McCallister finished the game 3-for-6 with a run scored and the two driven in. He led a Patriot line-up that all saw every starter get at least one hit and seven different player record RBIs.
Sophomore shortstop Michael Wilson, junior third baseman Stephen Tarkenton, junior catcher Jacob Golliday, and senior designated hitter Brian Paulhus all had two hits.
That 16-hit attack backed the pitching of Jordan (10-4) who allowed only one earned run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked three. Junior righty Don Sandifer finished the contest with two hitless and scoreless frames.
Armstrong southpaw Chandler Hall (9-3), who beat the Patriots during the regular season in Savannah, took the loss on Thursday. He surrendered six runs (four earned) on eight hits in six innings.
FMU took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Tarkenton singled up the middle with one out. Golliday followed with a double to left field that advanced Tarkenton to third, and both runners continued around to score when the relay throw was wild and rolled all the way to the right field line.
The advantage increased to 3-0 in the fifth when Paulhus was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a bunt single by Luke Tollison, and crossed home plate on McCallister’s first two-out base hit. Jordan did not allow his first hit until R.J. Dennard led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to left center.
Three consecutive run-scoring singles by Golliday, Tyler Boyd, and Paulhus expanded the Francis Marion lead to 6-0 in the top of the sixth. Armstrong loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame, but Jordan escaped by allowing only one run – that on an RBI groundout by catcher John Roberts.
Francis Marion plated four runs in the top of the eighth, started by junior Rhodes Dickerson’s first extra-base hit as a Patriot, a double to left center that drove home Paulhus. Altogether, FMU was 8-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
The first two Pirate batters in the bottom of the eighth reached and that forced Jordan from the game in favor of Sandifer. Third baseman Drew Walker drove home Armstrong’s second tally with a groundout to first, but that was all the damage the Pirates could inflict.
“We played well today,” said FMU head coach Art Inabinet in the post-game press conference. “We talked about being more aggressive offensively and the need to score more runs if we wanted to be around on Sunday (last day of the tournament).
“We have a low-key team. They don’t get too high or too low. We played near-perfect baseball today, but it’s just one game and the most important game is now tomorrow. We will need to continue to excel in all three phases: pitching hitting, and fielding.”
Jordan commented on his outing by saying, “I was able to locate my fastball today, and then I could make use of my change-up. It also helped that the team got me a lead. It is a lot easier to pitch with the lead. After we went up 3-0, they got a few hits but I was able to bear down and contain the damage.”
“In the bullpen before the game I had all four pitches working. I was able to mix in my off-speed pitches, then (catcher) Jacob (Golliday) helped me spot my fastball. I knew my change-up would have to be big for me today if I was going to have success.”
His battery mate Golliday added, “Spencer got ahead of the batters today and really pitched well.”
On playing after a car accident earlier this week in which he was hit in the driver’s side door, Golliday said, “It’s funny. This is the second straight season I have been in a car accident a couple of days before regionals. (On Monday) I expected to wake up the next day and be really sore. As bad as it looked, I really only had a small bruise on my leg.”
McCallister added, “It means a lot getting into the winner’s bracket. We do have a laid-back team, but this is the regionals. If you can’t get up for this game, you can’t get up for anything.”
Concerning his two-out clutch hitting, he added, “I try to keep my approach the same and just try to put the ball in play and hit it hard.
#6 Francis Marion 11, #7 Armstrong 2 (May 17, 2012 at Mount Olive, N.C.)
Francis Marion…… 020 013 041 – 11 16 1 (38-16)
Armstrong……….. 000 001 010 – 2 4 3 (40-14)
Pitchers: Francis Marion – Spencer Jordan; Don Sandifer (8) and Jacob Golliday. Armstrong -
Chandler Hall; Cody Powell (7); Ross Beach (8); Jesse Osborne (9) and John Roberts.
Win-Spencer Jordan (10-4) Loss-Chandler Hall (9-3) T-2:32 A-221
Weather: overcast, 70′s
Jordan faced 2 batters in the 8th.
COLON’S TWO HOMERS PROPEL TUSCULUM PAST FRANCIS MARION 7-2
Saturday, May 19 – MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Aaron Guinn delivered four hits and Alexi Colon homered twice as second-seeded and second-ranked Tusculum College remained undefeated in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional with a 7-2 win over fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked Francis Marion University early Saturday morning. Due to postponements caused by Thursday night rain, the contest did not finish until 2:30 a.m.
Both teams advanced to Saturday’s third round. Francis Marion meets Lander at 1 p.m. while Tusculum will meet the winner of that game at 8 p.m.
The Pioneers pounded out 14 hits against three Patriot pitchers in support of starting pitcher Taylor Rakes (10-1). Rakes scattered 10 hits, all singles, in a complete game victory.
Tusculum never trailed after a pair of runs in the top of the second. With one out, Heath Comerford and Nate Reid delivered one-out singles and Tripper Crisson walked to load the bases. Lukas Graves brought in the first run with a groundout, then Guinn’s first hit made it 2-0.
One inning later, Carlos Santana brought home a third run with a groundout.
In the fourth, Francis Marion fought back with two runs of its own. Singles by Jarrod Reed and Stephen Tarkenton got things started, and Tyler Boyd singled home one run, and an error cut the deficit to 3-2.
Francis Marion got no closer. In the fifth, Colon’s 20th homer stretched the lead back to 4-2; then Cody Coffman delivered his eighth homer in the seventh, a solo blast to right.
Rakes allowed just one earned run, while striking out a career-best nine. Jarrod Reed and Jacob Golliday had two hits apiece for the Patriots. Starter Matt Broderick (8-3) took the loss.
May 18, 2012
NCAA Division II Southeast Region (Game 6)
Tusculum 7, Francis Marion 2 (May 18, 2012 at Mount Olive, N.C.)
Tusculum …………..021 011 101 – 7 14 1 (47-8)
Francis Marion …..000 200 000 – 2 10 0 (38-16)
Pitchers: Tusculum- T.Rakes and N.Reid. FMU- M.Broderick, J.Hooks (3), J.Tubeville (8) and J.Golliday.
Win- Taylor Rakes (10-1). Save- none. Loss- Matt Broderick (8-3). T- 2:36. A- 188.
HR Tusculum- Alexi Colon 2 (21), Cody Coffman (8).
HR FMU- none.
Weather: Cloudy, 60s.
from Frank Lamm, Assistant Sports Information Director
FMU survives in NCAAs as Sosnoskie sparks Patriots
Saturday, May 19 – MOUNT OLIVE, NC – Senior center field Buddy Sosnoskie had three hits, including a two-run homer, and scored three runs to spark sixth-ranked and fourth-seeded Francis Marion University past 20th-ranked and sixth-seeded Lander University 10-3, Saturday (May 19) afternoon in an elimination game at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.
Francis Marion (39-17) advances to face unbeaten Tusculum College at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening. If FMU wins that contest, the Patriots will advance to the regional title game on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Lander ends its most successful season in school history with a 38-20 record after making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Sosnoskie finished the day 3-for-4 with four runs batted in. He now has 88 hits this season, one shy of the team record of 89 set by Barrett Kleinknecht in 2009. FMU senior catcher Brian Paulhus was 2-for-3 on Saturday with a run scored and two driven in.
Patriot closer Jeffrey Stoner (6-3) relieved starter Gary Ashcraft with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth. The sophomore right-hander pitched 4.1 innings, his longest outing since moving into the closer role, and allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts.
Three Patriot hurlers held Lander to an 0-for-10 day with runners in scoring position.
Sosnoskie ignited Francis Marion’s offense in the bottom of the second. The Statesville, N.C., native legged out a high chopper to first base for an infield single. Third baseman Stephen Tarkenton, after failing to get down a sacrifice bunt, doubled off the left field line to send the speedy Sosnoskie all the way around to score.
Junior designated hitter Jacob Golliday bunted to move Tarkenton over to third, but he reached safely when no Bearcat covered first base. Senior left fielder Tyler Boyd, appearing in his 191st career game, was then hit by a pitch from Lander starter Scott Elitzky (4-3) to load the bases with no outs.
Paulhus plated a second run with a sacrifice fly to left field, before junior first baseman Rhodes Dickerson walked to reload the bases with one out. Leadoff man Michael Wilson drove home FMU’s third run with fielder’s choice grounder.
Ashcraft was able to escape trouble in the top of the third with some defensive work of his own. Bearcat right fielder Kevin Childs laced a double over the first base bag to lead off the frame. After moving to third on a ground out to second, Ashcraft knocked down a come-backer to mound by Ian Harvey and held Childs at third while throwing to first for the second out. Ashcraft then covered first on a chopper wide of first to Dickerson for third out.
Patriot right fielder Jarrod Reed singled past the first baseman to lead off the last of the third and Sosnoskie followed with a two-run line-drive homer to right center field as the FMU advantage expanded to 5-0. It was Sosnoskie’s second long ball of the year and the third of his two-year stay in Florence.
Ashcraft departed in the fourth after allowing a two-out single and then walking three consecutive batters to force in a run. Second baseman Erik Lunde picked up the RBI. Francis Marion head coach Art Inabinet then brought in Stoner. His first batter, Harvey, reached on a two-out infield error that plated Lander’s second run, but Stoner got All-Conference shortstop AJ Nunziato to fly out to end the rally.
Sosnoskie was hit by a pitch in the fifth, and after Golliday walked, Elitzky was replaced by righty Michael White. Boyd collected an infield single and the ball was thrown away at second base allowing Sosnoskie to score. Paulhus then ripped an RBI single between third baseman and the bag to up the margin to 7-2.
Singles to right by Jacob Tisdale and Childs put two Bearcat runners on with one out in sixth, but Stoner retired the next two batters to end the threat. Wilson ended the frame with a lunging catch of a liner by Harvey in the 5.5 hole that might well have scored two.
The Patriots manufactured a run in the sixth when Wilson walked, moved to second on wild pitch, advanced to third on ground out, and scored on a foul ball sacrifice fly by Reed.
Lander scored its third run on an RBI double to left center by Weston Lawing in the top of the seventh. The Bearcats threatened again in the eighth with two runners on, but Stoner induced back-to-back fly outs to Sosnoskie in center.
Childs led Lander at the plate with a 3-for-3 afternoon, while Tisdale registered two hits.
Sosnoskie accounted for the final two runs of the contest in the eighth frame with a two-run single through right side.
“Today we were able to get out on top early,” said Inabinet. “Stoner came on and held them down during the middle innings and we were able to score a few more runs. The final score was not indicative of the how close the game was, especially in the middle innings.
“Stoner gave us a lift. He’s been our closer. He’s started some games for us. Today, he came in and gave us a chance to pull away from them. That was a big homer by Sosnoskie. The ball jumps out of here to right field and he got all of it.”
Stoner commented, “It’s a different mentality starting and closing. Even though I didn’t start the game, I needed to go in and give the team some strong innings. My cutter and change were working well today.”
When asked about the home run, Sosnoskie said, “I didn’t know it was going out, but I hit it solid and on a line.” Concerning the quick turnaround from last night’s late game that ended at 2:15 a.m., he added
“Today’s a brand new day. It usually takes me a while to get to sleep. I had a sandwich and that was it this morning. Today is show and go day.”
#6 Francis Marion 10, #20 Lander 3 (May 19, 2012 at Mount Olive, N.C.)
Lander………….. 000 200 100 – 3 6 1 (38-20)
Francis Marion…… 032 021 02X – 10 9 2 (39-17)
Pitchers: Lander – Scott Elitzky; Michael White (5); Ben Runyon (8) and Jeff May. Francis Marion – Gary Ashcraft; Jeffrey Stoner (4); Matt Broderick (9) and Brian Paulhus.
Win-Jeffrey Stoner (6-3) Loss-Scott Elitzky (4-3) T-2:42 A-209
HR FMU – Buddy Sosnoskie (2).
Weather: mostly sunny, 70 degrees
Sandifer shines in Patriot NCAA win, FMU one step from series
Sunday, May 20 – MOUNT OLIVE, NC – Playing its third game in less than 24 hours, Francis Marion University rode the strong starting pitching of junior right-hander Don Sandifer to claim a 9-3 victory over second-seeded and second-ranked Tusculum College, Saturday (May 19) night in a semifinal game at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.
With the win, its second of the day, sixth-ranked and fourth-seeded Francis Marion (40-17) advances to the regional title game on Sunday at 5 p.m.. The Patriots will face the winner of Tusculum/Catawba College for the right to go to the Division II National Finals in Cary, N.C., May 26-June 2. Tusculum and Catawba will play earlier on Sunday in an eliminaton game at 1 p.m.
This is the fourth 40-win season for the Patriots, including their third-in-a-row, and all have come under the direction of head coach Art Inabinet, who is now three wins shy of 500 for his career. The only previous regional championship for Francis Marion came in 2006.
Sandifer, a pre-season All-American and last year’s Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, picked up his first win (1-4 record) since last year’s regional tournament – on the same Scarborough Field at Mount Olive College. The Bamberg native allowed three runs on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. Sophomore closer Jeffrey Stoner made his second appearance of the afternoon and pitched two scoreless frames, allowing only one hit.
Sophomore shortstop Michael Wilson led FMU at the plate with a 3-for-5 night that included three runs scored and two driven in. Senior second baseman Brock McCallister (2-for-5), senior designated hitter Brian Paulhus (2-for-4), and junior first baseman Rhodes Dickerson (2-for-5) all had two hits and one RBI apiece. Every Patriot position player recorded at least one hit.
McCallister tied the single-season FMU record for at bats (239), while senior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie finished 1-for-4 with two runs batted in and tied the team record of 89 hits in a season. Former Patriot shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht set both marks in 2009.
Paulhus and Sosnoskie finished Saturday’s two games with four hits apiece. The Patriots eliminated Lander University 10-3 on Saturday afternoon, after losing to Tusculum 7-2 in the early morning hours of Saturday in a game that started on Friday night at 11:40 p.m.
On Saturday night however, Francis Marion took the early 1-0 lead in its first at bat. Wilson led off with a single to right center and advanced to third when Jarrod Reed’s grounder to first was thrown away at second base – the first of six Tusculum miscues. Wilson came home on Sosnoskie’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder to first, a ball almost identical to Reed’s grounder, which the Pioneers again tried to turn into a double play. Sosnoskie then advanced to third when Tusculum starter Adam Sigmon (8-2) threw away a pick-off attempt at first, but the speedy Patriot was stranded there when Stephen Tarkenton struck out.
Looking to add to their lead, the Patriots registered three singles in the top of the second, but could not push across a second run. Tusculum threatened in their half of the second when designated hitter Heath Comerford earned a two-out walk and catcher Nate Reid singled through the left side, Sandifer recovered to strike out shortstop Tripper Crisson to end the threat.
After stranding another runner in scoring position in the third, the Patriots finally picked up a hit in that situation in the top of the fourth and in the process doubled their advantage to 2-0. Senior left fielder Tyler Boyd reached on a single that he chopper over the third baseman with one out. After stealing second, he came home on Rhodes Dickerson’s long RBI single to right center.
In the Pioneers’ half of the fourth, first baseman Cody Coffman and Comerford both singled, but Sandifer got Reid to ground out to Wilson at shortstop to end the threat. However, Tusculum did get to Sandifer in the fifth frame. Crisson led off with a single, was sacrificed to second, and scored on right fielder Aaron Guinn’s run-scoring single to center. After a double by third baseman Cade Stallings moved Guinn to third, both came home on Coffman’s triple over Sosnoskie in deep center field.
However, Francis Marion responded with four runs in the top of the sixth and regained the lead for good at 6-3. Tarkenton led off with a single up middle, but was erased on Jacob Golliday’s fielder’s choice bunt. Boyd then worked a four-pitch walk, moving Golliday to second, and the Patriot catcher scampered home on Paulhus’ RBI double over third base bag to knot score at 3-3. Wilson plated both Boyd and Paulhus with a clutch two-out, two-run single through right side, and then he advanced to second on an outfield throwing error. McCallister upped the margin to 6-3 with an RBI single down the right field line that scored Wilson and chased Sigmon from the mound.
Sandifer again escaped trouble in the last of the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts that stranded runners on second and third. In the seventh, Sandifer fanned Comerford to end a Pioneer threat that included three singles. Wilson saved one run by spearing one of the singles deep in the hole between short and third and keeping the ball in the infield.
Francis Marion added three insurance runs in the eighth, all coming with two outs. Wilson singled to right field and moved up one base on a passed ball. McCallister singled up the middle and Wilson came home when the ball was kicked away into center field. Reed reached on a bunt hit and Sosnoskie followed with an RBI single to left center. Tusculum reliever Dylan Hochevar tried to pick Sosnoskie off first base but his throw went awry and Reed scored from third.
The Patriots totaled 14 hits and took advantage of four walks from Pioneer pitchers.
When asked about his starter, Inabinet explained “That might have been the best game I’ve seen Don pitch since he’s been here. I am so happy for him. Our bats woke up and we scored some runs. Now we get to play one more game.
“I am proud of all our guys. We won two games on short rest (after losing to Tusculum in a game that ended at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday morning). Hopefully we will have enough to get the job done tomorrow and have a chance to play next week in Cary. We came so close last year.”
Sandifer explained, “It’s my biggest win here as a Patriot. I wanted to give our team a chance to win. Every situation you go through in your head – what you want to do – and tonight I hit my spots. I wanted to keep the ball in, and if I missed, it would to the inside. They (Tusculum) hit us pretty good last night. We were determined not to make the same mistakes.”
Wilson also said, “We all tried to match Don’s effort. He kept out-doing us position players, so it became a good battle within our squad. Our bats woke up and we were able to give Don something to work with.”
Sosnoskie added, “This has been my favorite two years of my life. I am not worried about any stats (including the hits record) – I couldn’t care less about those as long as we win. We have 25 or 26 guys out here who want to win a championship for coach. We want to get to Cary. We were so close last year, now we want to put everything out there.”
#6 Francis Marion 9, #2 Tusculum 3 (May 19, 2012 at Mount Olive, N.C.)
Francis Marion…… 100 104 030 – 9 14 1 (40-17)
Tusculum………… 000 030 000 – 3 12 6 (48-9)
Pitchers: Francis Marion – Don Sandifer; Jeffrey Stoner(8) and Jacob Golliday. Tusculum -
Adam Sigmon; Michael Franklin(6); Dylan Hochevar(8); John Clarke(9) and Nate Reid;
Win-Don Sandifer(1-4) Loss-Adam Sigmon(8-2) T-2:36 A-207
Weather: clear, low 70′s
Patriots rally but fall short of series berth, lose 8-4
Sunday, May 20 – MOUNT OLIVE, NC – First baseman Chris Dula rapped out three hits and drove in three runs to lead sixth-seeded and 21st-ranked Catawba College to an 8-4 win over fourth-seeded and sixth-ranked Francis Marion University, Sunday evening (May 20) in the championship game at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament.
Francis Marion ends its season at 40-18 and finishes as the regional runner-up for the third consecutive season. The Patriots finish with their fourth 40-win season, and third in a row. FMU was looking to win its second region championship, the first coming in 2006.
The Indians (43-15) earn their first-ever berth in the Division II National Finals in Cary, N.C., May 26-June 2. Catawba had beaten Tusculum College 6-1 earlier on Sunday to advance to face FMU in the title contest.
Playing their final games in a Patriot uniform, senior outfielders Buddy Sosnoskie and Tyler Boyd each registered three hits, a run scored, and one run batted in. Sosnoskie set a new single-season team record with 92 hits, breaking the previous mark of 89 set by Barrett Kleinknecht. Boyd appeared in his 194th game for the red, white, and blue.
FMU sophomore shortstop Michael Wilson and senior second baseman Brock McCallister each had two hits apiece. Both Sosnoskie and Wilson were named to the All-Tournament Team.
FMU sophomore closer Jeffrey Stoner (6-4), the third of three Patriot hurlers, was saddled with the loss. He allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in four innings. The Martinez, Ga., native had pitched in both of Francis Marion’s games on Saturday, earning one win and logging 6.1 innings.
Catawba scored twice in the top of the first off FMU starter Spencer Jordan. Dula led off with a long double to base of the right center field fence. A single and a four-pitch walk loaded the bases with no out. After a strikeout, tournament Most Outstanding Player Julio Zubillaga plated the first run with a two-strike bloop RBI single to center. The second tally came home on a wild pitch, but Jordan recovered to strikeout Cameron Beard and strand three Indian base runners.
Francis Marion threatened in the bottom of the first. Wilson and McCallister both singled through right side with no outs. After Jarrod Reed struck out, Sosnoskie skewed a ball toward the hole between short and third, but Catawba shortstop Brett Underwood saved a run by making a diving stop in the hole. However the infield single loaded the bases with just one out. Third baseman Stephen Tarkenton then lofted a fly ball to medium-depth left field, and Wilson beat the throw home for what looked like the first Patriot run. However on appeal, Wilson was ruled to have left third before the catch and so FMU was denied its first run and Catawba was out of the inning.
Boyd singled to right field in the next FMU frame, and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but was left there as the next two Patriots were retired.
Catawba struck for two more runs in the top of the third on an RBI single to center by catcher Greg Lawson. Beard followed with a run-scoring bunt single that started as a safety squeeze.
Francis Marion finally got to Catawba starter Nick Lomascolo in the bottom of the fourth. Sosnoskie started the rally with a double just inside first base bag, his school-record 25th two-bagger of the year. He moved up a base on Tarkenton’s fly out to center, and catcher Jacob Golliday walked on a full-count offering to place runners at first and third with one out.
Boyd drilled a run-scoring single through the right side to plate Sosnoskie and draw FMU within 4-1. After Brian Paulhus lined out to left field, pinch-hitter Luke Tollison bounced an RBI single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch to cut the margin to 4-2. Wilson followed with a drive to right field that hit the top of the fence and bounced back into play for an RBI double, but Tollison was nailed at the plate on a beautiful relay throw from Zubillaga. That play could have put the Patriots ahead, but none-the-less brought FMU to within 4-3.
After a quick 1-2-3 inning from senior southpaw Matt Broderick in the top of the fifth, the Patriot bats again came alive in their half of the frame. McCallister reached on a single to right center, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and crossed home with the tying run on a run-scoring single up the middle by Sosnoskie. Following a pitching change, Tarkenton was hit by a pitch and Golliday flared a single to right field to load the bases with one out. The Indians then turned a slick 6-4-3 double play on a grounder by Boyd to end the threat.
Stoner entered the contest in the top of the sixth with runners on first and third and no outs. He retired the Indians without a run, thanks in large part to a long-running catch by Boyd in left center to end the inning.
Catawba then struck for the deciding two runs in the top of the seventh. Zubillaga led off with an infield single, Underwood reached on an error, and Lawson poked a soft single to left that loaded the bases with nobody out. Ironically, both Underwood and Lawson were unsuccessful at sacrificing and thus had to hit away with two strikes. With a light rain beginning to fall, Stoner retired the next Indian on a line-out to right, but Keaton Hawks plated the go-ahead run with a single to right and Dula pushed across a second run with a sacrifice fly.
In the last of the eighth, Tarkenton led off with a single through the left side. After a fly out, Boyd singled through right side to put the tying runs on base. However Catawba reliever Craig Brooks (2-0) got Paulhus to pop out and fanned Tollison looking to end the Patriot rally.
The Indians added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a two-run triple to the right center field fence by Dula.
Brooks retired the Patriots in order in the bottom of the ninth with the rain coming down as hard as it had all day on three ground balls to Underwood at shortstop. Three of Brooks’ four complete innings were of the 1-2-3 variety.
Eleven Patriot seniors donned the red, white, and blue uniforms for the final time on Sunday. This group finished as the winningest four-year class in the program’s history with 159 victories.
“I thought we played well enough to win today, but left too many runners on base,” said FMU head coach Art Inabinet. “We could have won, but not today. Catawba was just a better team. Our kids did a lot of good things today, but just didn’t get the key hits, and they (Catawba) did.”
Jordan commented on his effort that came on short rest after he won the team’s tournament opener on Thursday, “I just didn’t make the pitches, and thus could not get ahead like I did Thursday.”
Boyd, one of four four-year letterwinners on the squad, said “You don’t ever want the last game of the year to come around. But we can’t let our heads dip down, we have a lot to be proud of.”
Sosnoskie offered this, “It always hurts to lose the last game of the year, and maybe a little worse this year than it did in 2011 (last year’s regional title game loss). These past two seasons in Florence at FMU have has been the best two years of my life. I am so glad I came here. I plan on wearing this (rain-soaked) jersey all the way home.”
In earning All-Tournament Team recognition, Sosnoskie finished the five games 9-for-21 with five runs scored and seven RBIs, while Wilson was 7-for-22 with six runs scored and five driven in.
#21 Catawba 8, #6 Francis Marion 4 (May 20, 2012 at Mount Olive, N.C.)
Catawba…………. 202 000 202 – 8 14 0 (43-15)
Francis Marion…… 000 310 000 – 4 13 2 (40-18)
Pitchers: Catawba – Nick Lomascolo; Craig Brooks (5) and Greg Lawson. Francis Marion – Spencer Jordan; Matt Broderick (3); Jeffrey Stoner (6) and Jacob Golliday.
Win-Craig Brooks (2-0) Loss-Jeffrey Stoner (6-4) T-2:47 A-258
Weather: overcast, 70′s
Broderick faced 2 batters in the 6th.