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Furman To Open SoCon Series Friday Versus ETSU

Bret Huebner
Bret Huebner

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- An 11-6 winner over Presbyterian on Wednesday, Furman's baseball team jumps back into Southern Conference play this weekend when it plays host to East Tennessee State in a three-game series beginning with Friday's 6:00 p.m. opener at Latham Stadium.

Furman (15-20, 4-8 SoCon), winners of four straight, bounced back from a long losing skid last weekend with an impressive three-game series sweep over Western Carolina in Cullowhee, halting the Catamounts' seven-game winning streak in the process.

East Tennessee State (19-15, 2-7 SoCon), like Furman, has already played the league's current top three teams in Mercer, UNCG, and Western Carolina, and the Buccaneers own the only SoCon win over Mercer thus far.

ETSU took two of three from the Paladins a year ago in Johnson City, but Furman gained a measure of revenge in SoCon Tournament action, shutting out the Bucs, 3-0, behind a three-hit pitching performance by Will Gaddis.

Furman will alter its weekend rotation for the ETSU series, moving redshirt sophomore left-hander Grant Schuermann (3-4, 6.39 ERA) to Friday and junior right-hander Will Gaddis (3-3, 2.30 ERA) to Saturday.  Matthew Quarles (4-2, 5.00 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Paladins on Sunday.

In his last start Schuermann checked Western Carolina on a run on seven hits over six innings before an hour weather delay halted action with Furman leading 7-1.  Schuermann couldn't maintain his effectiveness upon the resumption of play and ended up with a no-decision in an eventual 8-7, 10-inning victory.

Gaddis, the reigning SoCon Pitcher of the Year, evened his record last Friday against Western Carolina, working seven innings and picking up the win in a 6-5 Paladin victory.

Quarles capped the sweep over WCU with a complete game, four-hitter in the Paladins' 5-2 Sunday victory — a performance that netted his SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors.  It marked his 19th career triumph, which moved him into fifth place on the school's career wins ledger.

Paladin pitching issued just two walks and recorded 24 strikeouts in 28.0 innings of work versus Western Carolina.

Furman has hit .359 and made just one error in its four-game winning streak.

Junior first baseman Brandon Elmy (.359, 6 HR, 26 RBI), who homered in the triumph over Presbyterian, leads the squad at the plate.  He's followed by junior catcher/designated hitter Jason Costa (.333, 4 HR, 17 RBI).  Senior outfielder Carter Grote (.324, 2 HR, 29 RBI), the team's leading run producer, has hit .400 (16x40) over the last 10 games.

The return of Jabari Richards, the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, has provided a big lift, as evidenced by his .357 average in seven stretch of seven consecutive starts.

All three games against ETSU will be video streamed over Furman's YouTube channel, with Dan Scott, "The Voice of the Paladins", calling the play-by-play action for both the video live stream and audio broadcast, which will be carried over campus station 95.9 FM and streamed via Stretch Internet thru FurmanPaladins.com.  Fans can also follow the action on twitter @FurmanBaseball

StatBroadcast live stats will be presented thru FurmanPaladins.com.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information