Ashcraft and Stoner Manage 4-1 FMU Win
COLUMBUS, GA. – Junior right-hander Gary Ashcraft and sophomore righty Jeffrey Stoner combined on a six-hitter and senior center fielder Buddy Sosnoskie went 4-for-5 to lead sixth-ranked Francis Marion University to a 4-1 win over Columbus State University, Friday afternoon (May 11) in an elimination game of the 2012 Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
The Patriots fight off elimination for a second straight contest, up their record to 36-15, and advance to face 11th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. If FMU wins that game, the two teams will play again on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Columbus State ends its season at 30-23.
CSU got its lead-off batter on base in five of the first six innings, but Ashcraft and Stoner managed to hold the Cougars to a lone tally. Ashcraft (6-0) remains unbeaten by allowing five singles in five innings, while fanning three and walking no one.
Stoner tossed four scoreless frames to earn his eighth save of 2012. He allowed just one single and one walk, while striking out three.
CSU starter Levi Futo (3-4) allowed only six hits and three runs in 7.2 innings. He struck out four and issued four bases-on-balls.
Sosnoskie registered his fourth four-hit game of the season and in the process drove in a pair of runs. Lead-off batter Michael Wilson continued his hot hitting in the tournament with a 2-for-3 effort that included one run scored and one driven in.
Right fielder Eric Weiss was the lone Cougar with multiple hits as he was 2-for-4. Each of the top four batters in the CSU line-up recorded one hit.
Both squads squandered scoring opportunities in the first with FMU leaving two on and CSU stranding a runner at third.
FMU junior first baseman Rhodes Dickerson’s fifth hit in three tournament games ignited a two-out Patriot rally in the second. Catcher Brian Paulhus followed with a walk and Wilson then laced an RBI-single to right center to plate Dickerson for a 1-0 lead.
Two great defensive plays by FMU in the bottom of the second preserved the lead. Ashcraft fielded a hard come-backer to throw out a runner heading from second to third. Right fielder Jarrod Reed made a running catch in deep right-center and then threw back to first to double off a Cougar base runner and end the inning.
CSU knotted the game at 1-1 in the last of the fourth. Center fielder Navarro Hall led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and crossed home plate on an RBI-single up the middle by Cougar catcher Brett Teschner.
FMU quickly regained the advantage in the next half inning when Sosnoskie laced a two-out RBI double near the left-field line that scored Reed all the way from first base.
The Patriots added single runs in the eighth – on a sacrifice fly by Dickerson – and the ninth – on a scorching two-out RBI-double to left center by Sosnoskie – innings to take a 4-1 advantage. Stoner then retired the Cougars in order in the last of the ninth.
Sosnoskie’s two doubles give him a conference-leading 21 for the season, one shy of the Patriot single-season record set by Jeff Parsons in 1988.
CSU had beaten the Patriots by an identical 4-1 score on Wednesday evening in the first round of the tournament. The Cougars listed eight seniors on their 2012 roster.