Baseball falls in 12 innings in battle of nationally-ranked teams

FLORENCE, SC -- Michael Ward doubled to left field with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning to score Owen Brittle with the winning run as 15th-ranked Francis Marion University defeated 25th-ranked Catawba 5-4 in baseball action on Wednesday night at Cormell Field. FMU improves to 27-11-1 with its sixth straight win, while Catawba drops to 26-15. Brittle started the winning rally when he beat out a bunt single with one out. Ward then laced a 2-1 pitch from Catawba reliever Tim Smith (4-2) to the left field fence and Brittle beat the relay throw home. Patriot Wade Jordan (2-0) picked up the win with three scoreless innings. He allowed only one hit. Francis Marion took a 4-0 lead after four innings, highlighted by a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first by junior second baseman Omar Quiles. Catawba answered with an unearned run in the fifth, a two-run homer by Aaron Rimer in the seventh, and an RBI single to center field by Matt Smith in the eighth frame to knot the score at 4-4. Ward finished the game three-for-five with two runs batted in and one run scored. Quiles registered his 19th multiple-hit game of the season with a two-for-four performance. Jason Weaver and Justin Greene also had two hits for the Patriots. Catcher Matt Smith led Catawba at the plate with two (in four at bats) of the Indians’ six hits. For Rimer, it was his ninth home run of the year. ######

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