MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - Furman picked up two wins with ninth-inning rallies in SoCon baseball action against College of Charleston on Saturday.
The Paladins opened the morning with a two-run rally in the ninth inning to overcome CofC's comeback attempt in the resumption of Friday's game. Furman's Chris Ohmstede and Griffin Davis tallied ninth-inning RBIs to lead the Paladins to an 11-9 victory in the first game of the series.
Just hours later, Furman mounted another ninth-inning rally with a two-run homer from Taylor Johnson to break a 4-4 tie and give the Paladins a 6-5 win in the second game of the series.
Game one featured eight total home runs on Friday and Saturday as the teams benefitted from strong winds on Friday evening.
All but one of CofC's runs and all but three of Furman's runs came off of homers, as CofC tied its season high in home runs in one game.
Furman jumped on top with a solo homer from Taylor Johnson in the first. Brandon Murray responded in the bottom of the first with a two-run bomb that cleared the batter's eye in center field. It was Murray's fourth homer in the last five games.
Greg Harrison hit a two-run homer in the second inning to retake the lead for Furman, but the Cougars retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning after a solo shot from Carl Wise and a run scored by Cody Martin on a wild pitch.
Furman went back up with a two-run homer from Alex Abrams and a two-run shot from Johnson, his second of the game, in the fifth inning.
Charleston rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning after Martin hit a two-run homer and Morgan Phillips hit a solo shot, his third home run in the last four games.
Furman retook the lead against CofC reliever Michael Hanzlik with a two-run double from Abrams, his fourth RBI of the game.
The Cougars tied the game after Saturday's resumption with a two-out bases loaded single from Gunnar Heidt, making the score 9-9. However, the Paladins took the lead back in the ninth with hits from Johnson, Paul Nitto and a walk from Abrams. Ohmstede scored one run with a sacrifice fly and Davis added an insurance run with a single.
Drew Freie (3-4) picked up the loss for the Cougars in pitching the ninth inning, while Elliott Warford (1-5) earned the win and Matt Solter (7) tallied the save for the Paladins.
College of Charleston suffered yet another close loss in the second game of the day, despite a 10-hit performance and a quality start from senior Jake Zokan.
Zokan picked up the no-decision after pitching 6.0 IP with two unearned runs and seven strikeouts, against just one walk. His counterpart Abrams last just 4.0 IP, giving up six hits and no runs.
Ben Carlson (4-2) finished the game and earned the win for the Paladins, while Dre Watts (3-1) gave up Furman's game-winning runs in the ninth inning.
The teams were even at two heading into the seventh inning, and each squad traded runs in the seventh and eighth inning to knot the score at four heading into the ninth. Furman's Johnson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to win the game for the Paladins.
Heidt and Murray continued their strong hitting as both players tallied two hits in the second game with Heidt driving in two runs. Devon Reed notched two hits and scored a run, while Carl Wise extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in the ninth inning. Cody Martin launched a double as one of his two hits and scored a run.
Furman was led by Johnson who had two hits, including his ninth-inning home run. Jake Jones came off the bench and went 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI, while Jordan Simpson had a double and scored a run.
The Paladins got on the board in the fourth inning with two unearned runs after an error by Heidt. Ohmstede singled in Johnson for the first run, and MacLatchie hit a two-single to left field to score Nitto and put Furman up 2-0.
CofC responded in the fifth with leadoff walks from Blake Butler and Reed, followed by a wild pitch. Heidt grounded out to score a run and Ben Boykin hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score another run and tie the game.
The pitching staffs were strong until the seventh inning when Furman's Hunter Burton reached on an error and came home to score on an RBI single from Jones. Heidt tied the game in the bottom of the inning with an RBI on an infield grounder to score Phillips.
Furman's Simpson hit a two-out double off of Hanzlik in the eighth inning and Burton singled him home to put Furman back on top. However, the Cougars responded again in the bottom of the eighth with a tying sacrifice fly RBI from Butler with the bases loaded. Charleston had a chance to take the lead but Reed flied out to end the inning.
After a leadoff single from Jones, Furman's Johnson hit a homer down the left field line in the top of the ninth inning that proved to be the eventual game-winner, with the Paladins winning game two, 6-5.
The teams will play the final game of the series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start.