NASHVILLE, TENN. -- Sims Griffith's RBI single in the ninth inning plated the game's first run and Carter Grote finished off the six-run frame with a three-run home run to power Furman to a 6-0 victory over Belmont in baseball action Friday evening at E.S. Rose Park.
The triumph earned Furman (29-25), which has gone 18-5 in its last 23 games, its sixth consecutive series win and clinched a winning season for first-year head coach Brett Harker's Paladins, who will go for the series sweep in Saturday's 2:00 p.m. finale.
Will Gaddis (8-3), the Paladins' staff ace and 2016 Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year who skipped his series start in advance of next week's Southern Conference Tournament, collected the victory in only the second relief appearance of his collegiate career, pitching the final two innings and striking out two.
Gaddis' strong work backed up another brilliant outing by redshirt redshirt Paladin left-hander Grant Schuermann, who blanked Belmont (27-27) over seven innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four. Schuermann hasn't allowed a run in his last two starts, and the first inning walk he issued was his first in his last six starts, and just his ninth on the season in 86 2/3 innings of work.
Furman couldn't get anything going offensively against Belmont starting right-hander Dom Veltri, who surrendered just five hits while striking out seven over six innings.
Both teams used double plays to get out of the couple of threats — Furman in the first after the Bruins loaded the bases with no outs, and in the seventh after Belmont opened the frame with a pair of singles; and Belmont in the second, and later and seventh after Furman loaded the bases with one out.
In the decisive ninth Bruin reliever and losing pitcher Zach Hodgkiss (2-1) issued back-to-back, one-out walks to Landon Kay and Cameron Whitehead, who then pulled off a double steal following a pitching change. Griffith followed with a sharp single through the left side to score Kay, giving the Paladins a 1-0 lead. Bret Huebner's fielder's choice bunt plated Whitehead, and Jabari RIchards made it 3-0 with a line drive single to right field to drive home Griffith. Grote capped the frame when he hammered an offering by Belmont reliever Austin Reynolds over the left field fence to stretch the advantage to 6-0.
Richards, Grote, and Griffith collected two hits apiece to pace Furman's nine-hit performance.
Belmont had seven hits -- all singles.
The shutout was the second of the season for the Paladins, who blanked PC, 6-0, in Clinton on Feb. 21.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information