Friday, March 2, 2018

Costa, Sanders power Paladins to victory

In his first game since 2016, Deon Sanders homered in
Furman's 12-8 win Friday. Photo courtesy of Furman.
Jason Costa and Deon Sanders each returned to Furman's starting lineup with authority Friday. Both homered for two of Furman's 15 hits as the Paladins defeated Central Connecticut State 12-8 in the opening game of a three-game series at Latham Stadium.

The game was tied 2-2 going to the bottom of the fourth before the Paladins put up a four-spot. After Logan Taplett led off the inning with a single, Sanders sent the next pitch well over the wall in left-center to give Furman a 4-2 lead. The Paladins (5-4) added a run on an error and Costa added an RBI-single.

It was Costa's first game back after missing the last three games with a back injury. Meanwhile, Friday marked Sanders' first baseball action this season after the running back wrapped up spring football practice earlier this week. It was also the first game back for Sanders in two years as he missed all of last season with an injury.

The Blue Devils (1-3) cut the lead to 6-4 in the seventh before Furman responded with half a dozen runs in the bottom half. Sims Griffith, Bret Huebner and Ben Anderson hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles before Costa capped the inning with a two-out, three-run homer to right-center pushing the lead to 12-4.

Anderson and Griffith each had three hits, while Griffith also scored three runs for the Paladins.

After normal Friday starter Grant Schuermann picked up a two-inning save at South Carolina Tuesday, Nik Verbeke took the mound for Furman Saturday. He actually replaced usual Saturday starter Jake Crawford, who was scratched for the weekend. That opened the door for Sanders to start at third in place of Crawford as well.

Verbeke (2-1) allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits in five innings for the win. He had two walks and three strikeouts.

Mitch Guilmette went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead Central Connecticut State.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.

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