Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Freshmen toss Furman to win at Winthrop

Furman's John Michael Bertrand pitched so well in seven relief appearances this season, that he earned a start Tuesday night at Winthrop. While the freshman left-hander scattered nine hits and two walks over five innings, he allowed just three runs, and the Paladins rallied for an 8-3 win. It's the seventh win in the last nine games for Furman (10-6).

The Paladins trailed 3-0 through five innings before the offense came to life in the sixth. Furman's Jake Crawford, Jason Costa and Brandon Elmy led off the inning with consecutive walks off Winthrop reliever Turner Scruggs. After Macklin Ohs relieved Scruggs, Landon Kay drove his second pitch into left-center for a two-run double. Three pitches later, Logan Taplett gave the Paladins another two-run double to left-center.

With a 4-3 lead, Furman handed the ball to freshman Jordan Beatson and he delivered four dominant innings of shutout relief. Beatson allowed just two singles, no walks and had four strikeouts in earning his first collegiate save. He retired each of Winthrop's final seven batters.

"I'm so proud of the way they threw the ball. Bertrand really battled ... and just kept us in the game," Furman coach Brett Harker told Dan Scott afterwards. "That was Beatson's coming out party. ... The whole game plan was to get us to the eighth, so we can go to T.K. (Tyler Kimbrell) ... and (Beatson) went ahead and finished for us."

The Paladins gave Beatson plenty of support by following up the four-run sixth inning with a four-run seventh. Elmy had an RBI-double, Taplett had an RBI-single and Jabari Richards capped the seventh with a two-run single.

Costa and Taplett each had two hits accounting for half of the Paladins' hit total for the game.

"I'm so excited about the culture of this program," Harker said. "Winning these midweek games is becoming a regular thing."

Winthrop starter Riley Arnone allowed two hits and three walks, with two strikeouts, in five scoreless innings. Leadoff man Mitch Spires went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to lead the Eagles (5-12).

The pitching performances by Bertrand and Beatson were all the more important given Furman's upcoming four-game, three-day series against Harvard. The Paladins host the Crimson in game one of the series Thursday at 6 p.m.

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