Furman slips past ETSU 6-5 - FOX Carolina 21

Furman slips past ETSU 6-5

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JOHNSON CITY, TENN. -- Will Gaddis pitched seven strong innings and Furman used the long ball and solid ninth inning defense to beat East Tennessee State, 6-5, in the opening game of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at Thomas Stadium.

The win was the first road triumph of the season for Furman (11-14, 3-1 SoCon) in nine games and second straight victory for Gaddis (4-2), who allowed three runs on six hits while striking out seven.  The sophomore right-hander departed the game with 6-3 lead, and pair of Paladin relievers combined to hold off ETSU (12-13, 1-3 SoCon), which scored runs in the eighth and ninth before freshman third baseman Jake Crawford made a diving stop to his left and threw out the Bucs Trey York at first base to end the game.

Gaddis was supported by three home runs, including two-run shots by Landon Kay and Brandon Elmy, and a solo blast by Cameron Whitehead.  The three-homer performance was the second of the season for the Paldadins, who were without their top two power hitters — senior Jordan Simpson and freshman Jabari Richards.

ETSU escaped a bases loaded, no-out situation in the first inning when Elmy’s sharp line drive found the glove of Bucs’ starting pitcher Blake Smith, who converted it into a double play.

The Paladins didn’t miss on their next turn at the plate, getting a leadoff infield single by Jon Michael Boswell and two-run home run to left field from Kay — his third clout in the last six games.

Whitehead led off the third with a long home run to left field, and Kay’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0.

ETSU cut the lead in half in the third on Hagen Owenby’s two-out, two-run double.

The Paladins got the runs back in the fifth via Elmy’s first home run of the season, a prodigious two-run blast to left field, for a 6-2 advantage.

ETSU made it 6-3 with a run in the fifth, but Gaddis responded by retiring the next eight batters before exiting the game after seven frames.

York greeted Gaddis’ replacement, Billy Greenfield, with a double to start the eighth, and he later scored on a groundout.

Paladin reliever Nolan Mullen got the final two outs in the eighth to keep the lead at 6-4.  In the ninth he walked leadoff pinch hitter Jammer Strickland and surrendered a single to Lance Mays.  Following a sacrifice, Jeremy Taylor’s RBI grounder scored Strickland, but Mays was stranded at third after Crawford’s diving stop and throw nipped York at first base for the final out.

The save was the third of the season for Mullen.

Elmy went 2-for-4, drove in two, and scored twice to lead Furman’s nine-hit attack.  Kay finished with three RBI, and Whitehead reached base three times with a home run, his third in the last five games, and two walks.  He scored twice.

ETSU finished with eight hits, getting two-hit efforts from York, Mays, and Robbie McCabe.

Bucs starter Blake Smith (2-4) took the loss, surrendering all six Furman runs on eight hits and three walks.

Furman and ETSU play game two of the series Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

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