GREENVILLE, S.C. – Fourth-seeded Furman banged out 17 hits and junior right-hander Will Gaddis threw five strong innings as the Paladins downed No. 5 seed Wofford 13-3 in seven innings in Wednesday’s opening game of the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.
The Paladins (30-26) advance to face either No. 1 seed Mercer or No. 9 seed VMI at 4 p.m. Thursday. Wofford (28-29) will take on either the Bears or Keydets in an elimination game Thursday at 9 a.m.
All but two Furman starters had at least two hits on the day, paced by 3-for-3 efforts from Sky Overton and Carter Grote.
Furman roughed up Wofford starter Adam Scott for four runs in the first, highlighted by Cameron Whitehead’s towering three-run home run, which hit the awning of the Rooftop at Fluor Field, the party deck atop the building behind the Green Monster in left. Landon Kay got the scoring started with an RBI double prior to Whitehead’s mammoth blast.
The Paladins added another run in the second on Grote’s RBI double before putting the game out of reach with an eight-run fourth. All eight of Furman’s hits in the big inning were singles, including a trio of bunt hits and Overton’s two-run single to left center.
Gaddis, the SoCon’s ERA leader (1.88) and the 2016 SoCon Pitcher of the Year, continued to shine, as he was perfect the first time through the order and allowed his only run on Brett Hash’s sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. He was lifted after 5 innings and 57 pitches, sitting on a comfortable 13-1 lead. Gaddis (9-3), who picked up his league-leading ninth win of the season, allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter, striking out four.
The Terriers got two runs back in the top of the sixth, as Kody Ruedisili greeted reliever Nolan Mullen with his second double of the game and McClain Bradley followed with a two-run homer to left center to make it a 10-run spread.
Wofford threatened again the seventh, but Cody Miller was picked off of second after a pair of leadoff singles and, after Ruedisili’s third hit of the contest, Bradley grounded into an inning-ending double play that kept Furman’s 10-run lead intact and the run-rule in effect.
Scott (6-6) was tagged for 10 runs on 13 hits in 3 innings.
The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues Wednesday with No. 1 seed Mercer taking on No. 9 seed VMI at 12 p.m. The time of that contest was moved up a half hour in an effort to avoid the inclement weather scheduled for later in the day.