Falcons drop doubleheader against Francis Marion

FROM STAFF REPORTS

FLORENCE, S.C. – The University of Montevallo baseball team dropped the first two games of a three-game Peach Belt Conference series on the road at Francis Marion University in a doubleheader April 13.

The Falcons, who entered the series ranked in three NCAA Division II baseball national polls, fell to the Patriots 5-4 in the series opener before dropping the second game of the doubleheader, 9-3.

Montevallo, which is ranked No. 14 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II poll, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second game before the Patriots scored six runs in the eighth inning to clinch the victory.

“Today was by far the worst day of baseball for us this season,” said Montevallo baseball coach Chandler Rose. “We didn’t do much of anything right. Michael Shreves and Alex Guilford both gave us good starts and a chance to win, but we didn’t defend well or swing the bats well all day. We have 10 really important games left and we need to fight like every game is our last.”

Sophomore Vinny Rodriguez led the Falcons (26-14 overall, 13-10 in Peach Belt Conference) offensively in the series opener as he finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a double. Rodriguez drove in one run and scored one run.

Junior Todd Thompson finished 2-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs. Junior Jackson Slaid went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored one run. Sophomore Zack Willoughby, who also finished 2-for-4 at the plate, drove in one run.

Freshman Michael Simmons went 1-for-4 at the plate and drove in one run. Junior Will Fulmer drove in one run.

Senior starter Michael Shreves took the loss on the mound despite tossing his first complete game of the season. Shreves (6-4) allowed five runs, including four earned runs, on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Francis Marion took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning in the series opener.

Jarrod Reed reached on a walk before coming around to score on a fielder’s choice by Stephen Tarkenton. Isaac Davenport, who reached on a Montevallo error, came around to score on a RBI single through the left side of the infield by Will Chandler. Tarkenton came around to score on a RBI single to right-center field by Rhodes Dickerson.

The Falcons cut the deficit to 3-1 with a run in the top of the second inning when Slaid reached on a walk before scoring on a RBI single through the left side of the infield by Willoughby.

Montevallo trimmed the Patriots’ lead to 3-2 with a run in the top of the fifth inning when Thompson singled up the middle before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Fulmer.

Francis Marion pushed its lead to 4-2 with a run in the bottom half of the frame when Davenport led off with a double to left field before scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning.

The Patriots extended their lead to 5-2 with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Reed reached on a walk to lead off the inning before scoring on a RBI double to left field by Tarkenton.

The Falcons cut the deficit to 5-3 with a run in the top of the eighth inning when Rodriguez ledoff with a double to left field before scorin on a fielder’s choice by Simmons.

Montevallo cut the deficit to 5-4 with a run in the top of the ninth inning when Thompson reached on a walk before scoring on a RBI single to right field by Rodriguez, but the Falcons couldn’t plate the game-tying run when Rodriguez was out on the next play on a force out following a fielder’s choice by Slaid.

Freshman Brandon Marshall led the Falcons offensively in the nightcap after finishing 2-for-4 at the plate.

Slaid went 1-for-3 at the plate with a double and drove in one run. Rodriguez finished 1-for-4 at the plate and drove in one run. Thompson went 1-for-4 at the plate and scored one run.

Fulmer finished 1-for-3 at the plate and scored one run. Senior Austin Dubberly went 1-for-4 at the plate.

Junior starter Alex Guilford (6-3) was tagged with the loss after giving up eight runs, including six earned runs, on 11 hits with one strikeout and one walk in 7 1/3 innings on the mound.

Freshman Cody Hughes allowed one earned run on one hit with two walks in 2/3 of an inning in relief.

Montevallo took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning in the second game of the doubleheader when Fulmer led off with a single to center field before coming around to score on a RBI single to right-center field by Rodriguez.

The Falcons pushed their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning when Thompson led off with a single to center field before scoring on a fielder’s choice by Slaid later in the inning.

Francis Marion trimmed the deficit to 2-1 with a run in the bottom half of the frame when Davenport, who singled to left field in the inning, came around to score on a RBI single to center field by Chandler.

The Patriots took their first lead in the game after plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Davenport started a two-out rally with a single up the middle before coming around to score on a RBI single to right field by Tarkenton, who scored moments later on a RBI triple off the wall in center field by Chandler to give Francis Marion a 3-2 advantage.

The Patriots followed with six more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to push their lead to 9-2.

Dickerson, who reached on an error by the Falcons, scored on a RBI single to left field by Cole Morris. Casey Gebhardt, who reached on an infield single, scored on a RBI single to center field by Reed. Stephen Johnson, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on a RBI sacrifice fly by Davenport.

Morris and Reed, along with Tarkenton, who reached on a walk, came around to score on a three-run double to center field by Chandler, which gave the Patriots a seven-run cushion.

The Falcons return to action Sunday, April 14 in the final game of the three-game series against Francis Marion.

First pitch is set for 11 a.m. CST.