Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Paladins ride big innings to win over Penn

Furman reliever John Michael Bertrand allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings and
struck out five for his first win Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Furman.
Furman scored four runs apiece in the first and third innings and went on to a 12-4 win over Penn at Latham Stadium Tuesday evening. Brandon Elmy had four RBIs and Logan Taplett had three to lead the Paladins (7-5).

Freshman leadoff hitter Ben Anderson stroked Penn starter Jack Hartman's first pitch of the game the opposite way for a single. After a one-out single by Jake Crawford, Jason Costa had an RBI-groundout and reached on an error. Elmy followed by hammering a 1-2 pitch over the leftfield wall for a three-run homer, the 20th of his career.

Elmy started the scoring in the third with an RBI-single. After a two-run single the other way by Taplett, Bret Huebner's single the opposite way plated another run to push the lead to 8-0.

"That's the best we've went opposite field all year and when we're doing that, we're rolling," Furman coach Brett Harker said.

Penn (1-6) cut the lead to 8-3 in the in the fourth and threatened for more in the fifth. The Quakers loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of walks sandwiched around an error. With Furman starter Trent Alley at 106 pitches, Harker called on John Michael Bertrand out of the bullpen. Bertrand got out of the jam with a strikeout and that was just a sign of things to come.

Bertrand stayed in for the next four innings to close out the game and earn his first collegiate win. The redshirt freshman allowed one ninth-inning run on on three hits in 4 1/3 innings of relief. Bertrand (1-0) had one walk and five strikeouts. With another game in the series looming tomorrow afternoon, Bertrand's showing was vital.

"That's probably the best relief performance I've seen in three or four years," Harker said. "Give credit to (pitching) Coach (Kaleb) Davis. He messed with his breaking ball over the last couple of days and it was really sharp and the ball was coming out really good. What he really did was just attack the (strike) zone. ... I'm very proud of his effort today."

Alley allowed three runs on five hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. He had three strikeouts.

"Trent wasn't at his best and he knows that, but he still competed. ... If we make that play at short, he's got five innings and may go six," Harker said. "I hated pulling him before he could get the decision, but he was at over 100 pitches and I just couldn't do that to the kid."

Crawford went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Furman's 13-hit performance. Anderson, Elmy, Taplett and Huebner also had two hits apiece for the Paladins.

Leadoff hitter Chris Adams went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Penn.

Furman will go for the two-game sweep of the midweek series Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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