FLORENCE, S.C. - The Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad won its fourth straight series by splitting a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader with Francis Marion University on Saturday afternoon at Sparrow Field in Florence, S.C. The Pirates took game one, 2-1, while the Patriots took game two, 11-3.
Armstrong moves to 18-9 overall and 10-7 in the Peach Belt after the split, while Francis Marion moves to 15-13 overall and 10-7 in the league. The Pirates took game one of the series, 11-9, on Friday night.
Game one was a fantastic pitcher's duel between All-Conference hurlers Ethan Bader of the Pirates and Don Sandifer of Francis Marion. Neither team could put a run across through the first six innings, but Armstrong got to Sandifer in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out on a walk to R.J. Dennard, a single by Clayton Miller and a hit by pitch to Chris Zittrouer. Jeffrey Stoner relieved Sandifer for the Patriots and retired the first batter he faced, but Chris Fritts delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to put Armstrong up, 1-0.
Francis Marion evened things in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI double by David DeWolfe.
Armstrong pushed across what would be the winning run in the top of the ninth inning as Clayton Miller led off the frame with a single. An error allowed Zittrouer to reach on his sacrifice bunt attempt, then a successful sacrifice by Fritts moved both runners up a base. Casey Maloney's ground ball to short scored Miller with the go-ahead run.
Francis Marion brought the tying run into scoring position in the ninth inning, but Bader struck out DeWolfe with runners on first and second to close out the win.
Bader (4-0) threw 124 pitches in his first complete-game victory of the season, 77 for strikes. He gave up just five hits and one run in nine innings of work, walking two while striking out five.
Stoner (4-2) took the loss in relief for the Patriots, giving up just one hit and one unearned run in three innings of work, walking one while striking out two.
Miller went 3-for-4 to lead the Pirates offensively in game one, while Dalton Gress had two hits for the Patriots.
In game two, the Patriots snapped a 1-1 tie with a four-run second inning and never looked back in claiming the 11-3 win. Francis Marion collected 21 hits in the game, led by Brett Fulmer's 4-for-5 contest, while Gress, Rhodes Dickerson and DeWolfe each had three hits apiece.
Armstrong got a 3-for-4 game from Chase Butler that included two doubles and two RBIs.
John Rossi (3-1) picked up the win for Francis Marion in game two with 4 2/3 innings of two-hit shutout relief, striking out two.
Caleb Woods (4-2) took the loss for the Priates, giving up six hits and five runs in two innings of work, walking two.
Armstrong returns to action on Tuesday, April 2, traveling to Belmont Abbey for a non-conference contest against the Crusaders at 2:30 p.m.