FLORENCE, S.C. – Young Harris College scored five unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning as the Mountain Lions upset No. 6-ranked Francis Marion University 7-2 Friday (Feb. 10) afternoon on the first day of the Auddie Brown Classic at Cormell Field.
The Mountain Lions improved to 2-3 while the Patriots, who are picked to win the Peach Belt Conference this season, fell to 2-2. It was the second time that Young Harris had beaten a ranked opponent in 2012. The Mountain Lions took one of three games against then-ranked No. 10 Florida Southern College last weekend.
Young Harris continues play tomorrow (Feb. 11) at the Classic with two more games. The Mountain Lions face King College at noon followed by a 3 p.m. rematch with Francis Marion.
With the game tied at 2, Young Harris finally got to FMU starter Spencer Jordan (1-1) in the top of the eighth. Sam Tarlton started the rally with a one-out single up the middle before Tom Valichka reached on a throwing error by shortstop Tyler Hibbs that put runners at second and third. David Atwood gave the Mountain Lions a 3-2 lead on his RBI single to left and ended the day for Jordan.
"We did a great job being patient against (Spencer) Jordan, their starting pitcher," said Young Harris head coach Rick Robinson. "He dominated us the first four innings and they let us hang around. We finally got to Jordan in the eighth. (Josh) Rudnik had another outstanding job and (Cody) Beck came in and closed the door for the win."
Josh Rudnik, who struck out six in six innings as the Young Harris starting pitcher, followed with a sacrifice fly to right field off reliever Jarrott Hooks to score Valichka. Trey Rogers deposited a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence to a two-run homer – his first of 2012 – to make it 6-2. After Spencer Thomas' single to left-center, Adam Moore followed with a RBI-triple down the right field line to close out the scoring.
Cody Beck (1-0) earned his first win of the season with three innings of scoreless relief. He wiggled out of harm's way when he got Buddy Sosnoskie, who was named to Baseball America's Preseason Top Prospects List earlier in the day, to fly out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
Francis Marion had taken a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on Hibbs' two-run, two-out triple down the left field line. The Mountain Lions tied the game at 2 in the fifth when Dom Wyshinski stroked a two-run double to left-center field.