Furman Knocks Off The Citadel, 7-3

Five-Run Third Helps Paladins Claim Second Straight Series Win Over Bulldogs

Will Stembridge delivered a two-run double in Furman's decisive third inning Saturday against The Citadel.

Will Stembridge delivered a two-run double in Furman's decisive third inning Saturday against The Citadel.

May 19, 2007

Box Score

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Will Stembridge went 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs to lead Furman to a 7-3 Southern Conference win over The Citadel Saturday afternoon in the rubber game of three-game series at Furman Stadium and regular season finale for both teams.

Stembridge, a senior right fielder from Norcross, Ga., playing in the final home game of his career, delivered a two-run double in a five-run third inning in helping Furman (19-35, 11-16 SoCon) build a 7-0 lead. The Citadel (30-25, 12-15 SoCon) battled back with three runs in the fourth, but the Paladins' bullpen shut out the Bulldogs over the final five frames to give Furman the series victory --- its second straight over its arch-rival -- and fourth win in its last five games.

Furman, which finished the SoCon regular season in eighth place, will play ninth place Wofford at noon Wednesday in the opening game of the Southern Conference Tournament at Charleston's Joseph P. Riley Park. The Terriers claimed the eighth seed Saturday with a 6-4 win over Elon in the first game of a doubleheader.

The Citadel, which entered Saturday tied with Georgia Southern for sixth place, slipped to seventh place with the loss to Furman and Georgia Southern's 5-2 win over Western Carolina on Saturday. The Bulldogs will play 10th seed Davidson in a first round play-in game at 3:30 Wednesday.

Furman roughed up Citadel pitching for 14 hits in Saturday's contest, including 10 in the first four innings. Spence Gibbs led the way with three singles as part of a 3-for-4 performance. Tony Maccani, Jay Jackson, and Joey Rodgers joined Stembridge with two hits each. Bobby Hubbard also belted a two-run double.

The Citadel collected nine hits but managed only two base knocks from the fifth inning on. Richard Jones led the Bulldog attack with a 2-for-4 performance that included a two-run home run.

The Paladins jumped on top early against Bulldog starter and losing pitcher Matt Reifsnider (3-6) as Connor Lind led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Gibbs stroked a single to right field. Bobby Hubbard followed with a two-run double to right center field to stake Furman to a 2-0 lead.

The Paladins struck for five runs on five hits in the third. After Reifsnider gave up a leadoff single to Gibbs, Bulldog reliever Nick Sprowls came in an issued a walk to Hubbard and bunt single to Jackson to load the bases. Maccani followed with an RBI single to plate Gibbs, and Stembridge then drilled a two-run double into the right field corner, scoring Hubbard and Jackson. Justin Smith replaced Sprowls and appeared set to get out of the inning after striking out Paul Ortenzo and retiring Charlie Bailes on a soft liner to shortstop. But Rogers' short pop fly fell in front of Bulldog centerfielder Chance Smith, allowing Hubbard and Stembridge to score and complete the five-run outburst giving the Paladins a 7-0 lead.

The Citadel's bats came to life in the fourth as the Bulldogs belted out five conseuctive hits off Paladin starting pitcher Mason Smith, including a two-run home run to left field by Jones that sliced the margin to 5-2. Matt Arnold followed with a single, and Bryan Altman doubled into the left field corner, but Arnold was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw from Lind to Maccani. The Bulldogs regrouped with a two-out RBI single by Kyle Jordan to make it a 7-3, but Smith avoided further damage by striking out the Bulldogs' Chance Smith to end the inning.

Nick Hollstegge (3-6) came on and worked a perfect fifth and sixth innings, striking out two in the process, to qualify for the win.

Will Feemster pitched a scoreless seventh but walked Brown to lead off the eighth. He was relieved by Nicholas Karow, who, after giving up a single to Jones that put runners at first and second, turned Arnold's comebacker into a force play at third base, retiring Brown. The Paladin freshman then induced Altman to hit into an inning ending double play.

Karow closed out the Bulldogs in the ninth with the help of another double play grounder and a strikeout.

In his last four appearances, which includes three saves, the Lewis Center, Ohio, native has tossed six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts.

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