April 19, 2014 AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Jaguars outlasted Francis Marion 2-1 in game one of the Peach Belt Conference series behind senior Kip Custer’s 8.1 innings pitched and dropped game two 4-1 to split the doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
The battle for eighth place in the PBC between GRU Augusta (17-28, 9-17 PBC) and the Patriots (24-20, 9-16 PBC) began with FMU sitting one game better than the Jaguars in the league.
Jaguar senior Kip Custer made his longest outing of the year and the last at home for his collegiate career during 2014 Senior Day. Custer (5-6) tossed two back-to-back strikeouts to strand two Patriot runners and escape the first inning. Connor Gilbert and Ross Miles started the Jaguar offense with consecutive singles off FMU starter Jordy Santak in the bottom of the second. On Miles’ single, Gilbert took third and Miles advanced to second on the throw. Chase Loyd plated Gilbert with a grounder to the shortstop and Zach Murray furthered the two-out rally with an opposite-field hit to right for a 2-0 GRU lead.
Custer dealt five strikeouts through four innings to keep the Jags on top while his offense struggled to boost their lead – leaving the bases loaded in the fourth. FMU cut the score in half with Isaac Davenport’s RBI-single to left field in the fifth. Jags Senior Jeff Rice struck the first extra-base hit of the game with a leadoff double to the right-center gap in the seventh inning.
Santak (4-5) was pulled in the seventh after tossing 6.0 innings to allow 10 hits for two runs. Cody Dix entered the mound for FMU and gave up a walk before his failed pickoff attempt moved Rice and Ryan Khan to second and third. Dix walked the bases loaded but struck out the final two batters for the Jags to leave their 11th man on base.
Custer still commanded the mound in the ninth inning as he gave up a leadoff single to Marquis Curry. Curry stole second and the Jags brought in righty Tristan Jones with one out. Jones got his fourth save of the year for the Jags to hold on for the one-run win. Custer pitched 8.1 innings to allow six hits for one run with seven strikeouts in the win.
In game two, the Jags took their second lead in the second inning on the day, going up 1-0 behind Chase Loyd’s single up the middle off FMU’s Brandon Stoots. GRU starter Clint Echols kept FMU scoreless after the first two at bats, but the Pats stole a 2-1 lead off consecutive singles in the top of the third. They added another off Echols in the fifth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center field for a 3-1 game.
Echols (2-4) struck out three, but walked four in 5.0 innings of work, before David Bermudez came in to toss 4.0 innings of relief work. Bermudez pitched three consecutive, three-up, three-down innings to keep the 3-1 game intact, but Cole Morris singled to right to plate the fourth run for the Pats in the ninth.
Stoots (2-1) pitched 6.1 innings pitched, surrendering eight hits for one run with a strikeout, as the Pats held on for the game two win to split the series. Game three decides the series tomorrow at LOS for a 2:00 p.m. first pitch with the Patriots.