AMERICUS - The Georgia Southwestern baseball team combined with sixth-ranked Francis Marion for 53 hits on Saturday afternoon at Hurricane Stadium as GSW and FMU split a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader. Francis Marion won Game 1, 13-9. GSW took the nightcap, 6-4.
The Hurricanes are 26-21 overall and finish PBC play 10-14 in the West Division. GSW ends up tied with North Georgia and Augusta State for third place in the division, but will miss the PBC Tournament based on the fact that both NGCSU and ASU won their season series against the Hurricanes.
Francis Marion ends the weekend 35-12 overall and 18-6 in the PBC. By winning one of two on Saturday, the Patriots clinch the outright PBC regular-season championship.
In Game 1 of the doubleheader, the Patriots jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first two-and-a-half innings and extended the margin to 10 runs in the fifth, after posting a seven-run frame to take an 11-1 advantage. With two more runs in the seventh, FMU increased its lead to 13-1.
It would turn out that FMU would need the seven-run inning because GSW came storming back in the home half of the seventh. The Hurricanes scored five runs on four hits and an error. John Duran and Michel Coffey picked up RBI singles and Corey Benson drove in two.
GSW carried that momentum to the eighth inning, where the Hurricanes added three more runs. Duran plated two with a double and Coffey brought a run home with a sacrifice fly.
The Hurricanes put their first two runners on base in the ninth, but the comeback was cut short when the next three batters were retired in order.
GSW starter senior Jody Sellars (2-5) takes the loss in his final collegiate start. Gray Carden threw three innings of relief and Matthew Suggs tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth to keep things interesting for the Hurricanes.
FMU starter Jeffrey Stoner (7-0) remained perfect this spring after tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs - three earned - on 11 hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Corey Carver pitched an inning and Patrick Mincey kept GSW scoreless over the final 1 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
Duran led GSW hitters with a 4-for-5 performance. He had three RBIs and scored twice. Benson with 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Francis Marion had five players collect two hits apiece. Chris Honeycutt and Tyler Capplemann each drove in two.
In the nightcap, FMU jumped out to the lead once again. This time with two runs in the first and another in the fifth. to take a 3-0 advantage.
The Hurricanes, held to four hits through five innings, erupted for four runs on five hits in the sixth. Coffey doubled home a run. Andrew Archer singled in Coffey. Jared Allen plated Archer with a double and Paschal Poston singled home Allen.
Allen's RBI triple in the eighth proved to be the game-winning hit. Poston added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly on the next at bat giving the 'Canes a 6-3 lead.
Francis Marion made things interesting in the ninth scoring a run on a one-out infield single by Brooks Arnette. With the bases loaded, GSW reliever Matt Weaver worked pinch-hitter Austin Smetana into a game-ending double play.
Hurricane starting pitcher Brandon Vazquez improved to 4-1 with a solid 8 1/3-inning performance. He scattered 10 hits and allowed four runs. Weaver picked up his first save after working out of trouble in the ninth.
FMU starter Jarrott Hooks did not factor in the decision. Hooks gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings of work. Sebie Kirkland (0-1) faced two batters, surrendered two hits and the deciding run to take the loss. Matt Broderick allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings and Tyler Lehman pitched a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.
Allen, one of seven GSW seniors playing in their final PBC game, finished with three hits, including a double and a triple. He knocked two runs in and scored twice. Coffey and Archer added two hits apiece.
Martin Gordon led FMU with a 3-for-4 game. Arnette and Dalton Gress added two hits apiece.
The Hurricanes wrap up the season on Tuesday against Valdosta State at 5 p.m.