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Furman downs UNCG to force decisive title game
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/28/2017
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Furman's Jabari Richards
Courtesy: Todd Drexler

GREENVILLE, S.C. – With the Southern Conference tournament title on the line, fourth-seeded Furman scored three runs over the final two innings to rally past No. 3 seed UNCG 6-4 and force a decisive second game Sunday at the SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.

Needing to beat UNCG (34-22) twice Sunday to win its third league tournament title, Furman (33-27) prolonged its season with the late rally. The teams will square off again at 3:50 p.m. with the winner claiming the league crown and the SoCon's automatic berth to an NCAA Regional.

With the Spartans leading 4-3 and just six outs from their first-ever SoCon title, Furman's Jabari Richards led off the eighth inning with a sharply hit double down the left-field line. Two outs later, Cameron Whitehead brought him home with a double of his own to tie the contest at 4.

The Spartans then summoned Andrew Wantz from the bullpen, and Jason Costa popped up his first pitch high on the infield. Three UNCG players converged on the ball but no one could make the play, and Whitehead raced around from second for the go-ahead run when Costa's single dropped about 20 feet from home plate.

Sky Overton, whose three hits improved his average at the tournament to a robust .591 (13-for-22), hit a two-out, 400-foot line-drive homer to left center to give the Paladins a little breathing room in the top of the ninth.

The Spartans stranded three runners on base in the final three innings, leaving two on in the eighth when Will Gaddis was summoned for just his third relief appearance of the year and getting a fly out to right on his first pitch of the day.

The next inning, Gaddis surrendered a two-out single to bring the tying run to the plate but retired SoCon Freshman of the Year Caleb Webster on a groundout to third to lock up his first career save.

Furman, seeking its first SoCon tournament title since 2005, got a 3-for-5 day from Overton and a 3-for-3 effort from Costa. Both drove in two runs and scored once, with Costa adding a walk.

Four players notched two-hit games for UNCG, led by Michael Goss' 2-for-5, two-run, two-RBI day. Goss had a hand in all four of the Spartans' runs, as he had an RBI single in a two-run first and a run-scoring double in a two-run fifth, later scoring in both frames.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Reliever Heath Hawkins (4-3) picked up the win for Furman, allowing just two hits in 1 2/3 innings. Hawkins entered with runners on the corners and no one out in the seventh and proceeded to strike out the side.

Gaddis worked 1 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit.

Matt Frisbee (7-4) took the loss for UNCG, as he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in four innings of work.

May 23 (Tuesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #9 VMI 8, #8 The Citadel 0

May 24 (Wednesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 2: #4 Furman 13, #5 Wofford 3 (7 innings)
Game 3: #1 Mercer 11, #9 VMI 6
Game 4: #7 ETSU 8, #2 Western Carolina 6

May 25 (Thursday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 5: #3 UNCG 6, #6 Samford 3
Game 6: #9 VMI 6, #5 Wofford 5 (10 innings)
Game 7: #6 Samford 6, #2 Western Carolina 1
Game 8: #4 Furman 6, #1 Mercer 1

May 26 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 9: #3 UNCG 6, #7 ETSU 4
Game 10: #6 Samford 5, #1 Mercer 4
Game 11: #7 ETSU 12, #9 VMI 11

May 27 (Saturday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 12: #3 UNCG 12, #4 Furman 8
Game 13: #7 ETSU 16, #6 Samford 6 (8 innings)
Game 14: #4 Furman 8, #7 ETSU 6

May 28 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN3)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: #4 Furman 6, #3 UNCG 4
Game 16: #4 Furman vs. #3 UNCG 3:50 p.m.

-www.SoConSports.com-

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