Limestone downs No. 2 F. Marion
Saintsí Gunter perfect at plate going 4-4, scoring three runs
Last Updated - February 5, 2012 7:20 GMT
FLORENCE, S.C. -- Cooper Gunter went 4-4 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored to lead Limestone (1-1) to a weekend split against No. 2 Francis Marion (1-1) following an 8-4 upset win.
The Saints were put to the test early as Francis Marion loaded the bags with one out in the home half of the first, but Jeremy Peed was able to work his way out of trouble with a pair of strikeouts to leave the bases loaded.
Limestone would then capitalize on the early momentum, and a bevy of Patriot errors, to take a 5-0 advantage with three runs in the third inning followed by two more runs in the fourth.
In the top of the third, a little two-out thunder staked the Blue and Gold to a 3-0 lead as Jake Rierson came through with an RBI double before an RBI triple by Chad Balderman capped the scoring.
No. 1 West Liberty 7, Flagler 3 Limestone 8, No. 2 Francis Marion 4 No. 5 Mt. Olive 16, Lenoir-Rhyne 1 No. 6 Tampa 2, Bentley 1 No. 15 Columbus State 15, Clark Atl. 3 No. 19 UNC-Pembroke 11, Anderson (S.C.) 8
After escaping a jam with a 5-4-3 double play in the bottom of the third, the Saints used two FMU errors to plate a pair of unearned runs in the fourth after Cooper Gunter and KJ McAllister registered RBI knocks.
The Patriots turned the table in the home half of the fourth as they used a pair of Limestone errors to break up the shutout. After John Jones reached on an error to start the frame, he came around to score on another error a few batters later before a one-out single by Michael Wilson closed the gap to 5-2.
The Saints again worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh as Carter Page popped up to short before Andrew Thompson recorded a huge strike out to retire the side. Just as before, the Blue and Gold translated the momentum into a three-run top of the eighth to open up an 8-2 advantage.
With one out, Zach Howard doubled down the leftfield line to make it a 6-2 game before Michael Hughey plated another score with an infield single. Rierson, who set the school record for most walks in a season last year, then worked a bases-loaded walk to give Limestone an 8-2 lead before the Patriots took their final at-bat in the ninth.
Francis Marion tried to mount a final run against LC's closer Cameron Culp in the bottom of the ninth as they posted a run on an RBI single by Dalton Gress before loading the bases with no outs. However, Culp settled down and retired the final three batters as the Saints wrapped up the 8-4 victory.
FMU's Don Sandifer took the loss after allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits. He struck out five Saints. Limestone touched up Matt Broderick for five runs, three earned, on eight hits in 4.1 innings pitched.
Peed got the start for Limestone, striking out two in a winning effort, while Cameron Ward allowed two unearned runs across two frames. Josh White posted three strike outs in a pair of inning.
Brock McAllister paced the Patriot offense, going 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Wilson chipped in a double and an RBI. Gress drove in a run on a base hit.
Rierson chipped in three hits, including a double, and two RBIs while Howard doubled in a run. KJ McAllister tallied a pair of hits and an RBI while Hughey knocked in his first RBI since the 2009 season. Balderman posted a solid showing this weekend, going 4-9 with a double, a triple, a homerun and two RBIs.