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‘Canes win one of three v. Francis Marion, drop to 23-23 as 2016 season draws to a close

From STAFF REPORTS

FLORENCE, SC – With the college baseball regular season drawing near its close, the Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) Hurricanes baseball team traveled to Francis Marion University (FMU) on April 23 to participate in a three-game Peach Belt Conference (PBC) series.
Due, in part, to stellar performances on the mound by GSW’s  Jordan McIlwain and Mitch Holloway, the Hurricanes earned a 3-0 win in the opening contest of the series. The hosts went on to salvage a split on the afternoon with a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes in the nightcap.
The next afternoon, the teams returned to the diamond to close the series. The ‘Canes came up on the short end of a pitching duel in the series finale, as the schools combined for nine hits, all singles, in the ballgame. The Hurricanes dropped a 3-0 decision in the closer.
After winning their first 19 games when holding opponents to five or fewer runs this spring, GSW was handed its second loss in as many games with such a pitching performance and saw its overall record slip to 23-23 and 6-21 in the PBC. Francis Marion improved to 26-20 overall, 13-14 in conference play.
The opening match on April 23 saw the Hurricanes extend their winning streak to four games as McIlwain and Holloway shut out the Patriots.
Dakota Long delivered what would prove to be the game-winning hit in the first inning when his single through the right side brought around Evan Alderman.
Alex Kranick plated an insurance run in the seventh inning with a single through the left side that scored Devyn Newberry.
Newberry scored again in the ninth off a single from Alderman.
McIlwain (5-4) threw 116 pitches and went seven innings in the start before making way for Holloway. McIlwain scattered six hits, walked five batters, and struck out three. Holloway held FMU to one hit over his two innings on the hill to pick up his fourth save of the spring. He walked three batters and struck out two.
Alderman and Long connected on two hits apiece to lead the Hurricanes.
In the afternoon nightcap, the Patriots pulled ahead early with a pair of runs in the third and two more in the fifth to hold off GSW. The Patriots added a run in the seventh.
For the ‘Canes’ two runs of the match, Brandon Weaver scored on a Devyn Newberry sacrifice fly and Zach Barron delivered his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to left center.
The next day, the Patriots scored all of the runs they would need in the third inning as they capitalized on a GSW throwing error and eventually pushed across a pair of unearned runs. The Patriots added another run in the sixth.
The Hurricanes returned to the diamond on April 26 to take on West Georgia in Carrolton.
The results of this contest were not available at press time. The ‘Canes will wrap up their regular season with a three-game series against Young Harris beginning on April 30.