By: Sammy Clough, Columnist
The Furman Paladins’ baseball season is in full swing. Mid-way through March, the Paladins find themselves with a record of 8-7; however, they have yet to start conference play.
In their season-opening series at home against the University of Dayton on the weekend of Feb. 17, the Paladins won two of three games against the Dayton Flyers.
Junior standout and reigning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year Will Gaddis threw six solid innings in a 9-3 win in his season debut, earning Coach Brett Harker his first win as the Paladins’ new head baseball coach. In Gaddis’ six innings of work, he allowed just four hits and one run to earn the win. Gaddis now improves to a 7-0 record at home, dating back to last season.
The Paladins’ offense also showed well as junior first-baseman Brandon Elmy’s two-run homerun and four RBIs led Furman’s offense to post nine runs against the Flyers. The Paladins tagged Flyers starting pitcher A.J. Cline for five runs, with an impressive offensive game for the Furman infield.
After a good start to the season, winning two of three games against Dayton, the Paladins met the Michigan State Spartans on Mar. 3 in a game held at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville.
Michigan State edged out Furman with a 3-2 victory in the First Pitch Invitational.
The Paladins started the game out hot, with four straight singles yielding a 2-0 lead. The offense, however, was stagnant for the rest of the game, as Furman did not score any more runs while giving up three.
Finally, on Sunday, March 12 the ‘Dins came one run away from an upset of the 20th-ranked Ole Miss. In the final game of the series, after Furman was shut-out in the previous two, the Paladins had a fantastic pitcher’s duel.
The Paladins started senior pitcher Matthew Quarles to go against Mississippi’s hurler, Greer Holston. Quarrels pitched seven innings without giving up a run, and the Paladins headed to the eighth clinging to a tie game of 0-0. Unfortunately, Furman pitcher Heath Hawkins gave up the only run of the game in the eighth inning, giving Ole Miss a 1-0 victory.
The not-so-glamorous record of 8-7 is not quite telling of Furman baseball’s play this season. The Paladins just can’t seem to capitalize on opportunities to win more games. Furman has made every game close though, only losing one game this season by a margin of more than three runs.
Conference play is just around the corner and Head Coach Harker will try to lead the Paladins into a better second half of the season. The Paladins will be back in action in a three game series at Wofford in Spartanburg, SC Fri., March 24 at 6:00 p.m.