Oliver's extra-inning blast keeps Columbus State alive - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Oliver's extra-inning blast keeps Columbus State alive

GREENWOOD, S.C. – Freshman Jackson Oliver hit a one-out 10th inning home run to lift second-seeded Columbus State to a thrilling 5-4 extra inning victory over sixth-seeded Francis Marion Friday morning in a Peach Belt Conference Tournament elimination game. The tournament is being held at Dolny Stadium in Greenwood, South Carolina. 

With the Cougars leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Francis Marion fought back with its season on the line. Cole Morris led the inning off with a single up the middle off CSU starter Matthew Kuhlenberg to record the first hit for the Patriots since the third inning.  Kuhlenberg settled down getting two fly outs before Morris put things into his own hands stealing second to get into scoring position for Stephen Tarkenton. Tarkenton delivered for FMU singling into leftfield to tie the game at four. 

Both teams' bullpen stifled its opposition as neither team advanced a runner into scoring position over the final two innings of regulation. 

In just the third extra inning game of the season for CSU and its first since February 18, Oliver made sure it was just a 10 inning affair as he lifted a 1-1 pitch over the rightfield wall to put the Cougars ahead 5-4. 

Columbus State (29-21) closer Hart Mizell entered the game in the bottom of the 10th and set down the side in order sealing the victory for the Cougars.

The Cougars will now take on Montevallo this evening at 5:00 p.m. in the first crossover game of the bracket.  UM is currently undefeated in the PBC Tournament winning their first two games.

Francis Marion (28-20) jumped on Columbus State early scoring three runs over the first three innings. In the first, two straight one-out singles got a rally started for the Patriots. After Kuhlenberg recorded a strikeout for the second out of the frame, Michael Wilson singled to rightfield putting two runs on the board for FMU. 

With two-outs and two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third, a wild pitch by Kuhlenberg allowed the Patriots to increase their lead to 3-0. 

However, the Cougars roared back taking the lead in the top of the fourth. Brett Teschner and Oliver began the frame with consecutive singles and Dustin Averett reached base on a fielding error that loaded the bases for CSU with no outs. After a passed ball allowed Teschner to score, Martin Castro laced a single down the leftfield line to plate Oliver making it a 3-2 game. 

FMU starter Brandon Stoots recorded a strikeout for the first out of the inning before hitting Blake Edwards to reload the bases. Graduate student Ryan Lewis followed Edwards with a RBI single tying the game at three-all. 

With two-outs and the bases loaded for PBC Player of the Year Cameron Scott, Stoots walked in the go-ahead run for the Cougars. 

However from there, the game turned into a pitching duel as the two teams combined for five hits over the final six and a half innings. 

Matthew Kuhlenberg pitched well for Columbus State tossing seven innings allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits. He struck out five in the no-decision effort. Cameron Griffin (2-1) picked up the win tossing two shutout innings in relief while Hart Mizell earned his ninth save of the year. 

For Francis Marion, Daniel Barfield (1-1) was hit with the loss despite pitching six excellent innings in relief. He allowed just two hits and one run. Brandon Stoots lasted just four innings in the start surrendering four unearned runs on seven hits. 

Offensively, Ryan Lewis and Jackson Oliver were both 2-for-5 with a RBI while Martin Castro was 2-for-4 driving in a run as well. Oliver's game-winning homerun in the 10th was his third of the season. 

Francis Marion was lead by Stephen Tarkenton who was 2-for-3 with a RBI while Michael Wilson was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

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