by Doug Page
FLORENCE, S.C. – A six-run bottom of the first inning would be all Francis Marion University needed to hand the Barton College baseball team a 9-0 loss on Saturday at Sparrow Stadium in Florence, S.C.
The Bulldogs (0-3) tallied just four hits offensively against the Patriots and stranded nine runners on base in the teams third game in three days to open the 2018 season. Francis Marion (2-0) got a combined five hits from Trey Chapman and Brody Thomasson as the duo was responsible for plating four of the teams nine runs in the contest.
Freshman center fielder Hunter Little went 1-for-1 at the plate with a double for BC, while junior right fielder Troy Maslowski, freshman third baseman Colby Warren, and junior second baseman Ricks Dearing each tallied a hit for the Bulldogs.
Chapman finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of runs batted in for the Patriots, while Thomasson went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs. Gage Taylor recorded a double and drove in a pair of runs for FMU in the leadoff spot, while CJ Mackinson finished 2-for-2 with a double and four runs scored.
Little would give Barton its first base runner in the top of the first as his double down the right-field line put him on second base with one out. The Bulldogs would be unable to score Little as FMU starter Isaac Rodgers got back-to-back groundouts to end the frame.
The Patriots plated six runs in the bottom of the first inning against BC freshman southpaw Alex Hart. FMU took a 1-0 lead off a wild pitch from Hart and would double its lead on a passed ball. Alex Griffith singled through the left side to plate William Robbins and make it 3-0. Taylor's double to left center scored a pair of runs and upped the FMU lead to 6-0.
Barton looked to respond in the top of the second inning as Warren reached base on an error by the third baseman. Warren advanced to second on a wild pitch and later moved over to third on an infield groundout. BC would strand Warren at third as freshman Tate Proctor grounded out to first.
FMU tacked on a run in the bottom of the third inning to increase its lead to 7-0 as Thomasson grounded out to the shortstop, allowing Mackinson to score from third base. BC started the top of the fourth inning with some momentum as sophomore Chase Riker worked a leadoff walk and would be followed by a single up the middle from Warren. Rodgers worked out of the jam for the Patriots, getting a fly out, strikeout, and pop up to end the frame and strand both runners on base.
Freshman right-hander Kendrick Creasey worked 3.1 innings of relief out of the bullpen for the Bulldogs and would surrender one run in the bottom of the fifth inning. A one-out walk would come back to haunt Creasey as Mackinson scored from second on a single from Chapman that made it through the right side.
The Patriots rounded-out their scoring in the bottom of the seventh inning against freshman right-handed reliever Austin Lee. With the bases loaded and nowhere to put Thomasson without allowing a run to score, Thomasson would single to left field and allow Mackinson to easily score from third. BC got out of the frame without any further damage thanks to a pair of fielder's choice outs and a strikeout.
Barton got a pair of one-out baserunners in the top of the ninth inning thanks to consecutive walks. The Patriots would avoid losing the shutout as a strikeout and a fly ball to right field ended the frame and preserved the 9-0 victory for FMU
Hart (0-1) allowed seven runs (six earned) over 2.2 innings of work for BC, fanning one batter. Creasey surrendered one run off two hits while fanning three batters and walking one through 3.1 innings of relief. Lee allowed one run on two hits, while freshman left-hander Clay Walters worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning for Barton.
The Bulldogs will face Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheboro, N.C. on Feb. 7 for a pair of games beginning at 1 p.m. Barton opens the home portion of its schedule on Feb. 10-11 as the Bulldogs host Glenville State for four games in Wilson, N.C.