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Furman Pounds VMI In Run-Rule Series Finale, 19-1

Bret Huebner had four hits in Furman's 19-1 rout of VMI on Sunday.

LEXINGTON, VA. -- Bret Huebner went 4-for-5 to pace a season high 22-hit effort, and John Michael Bertrand earned the victory in his first weekend pitching start in Furman's 19-1 pounding of VMI in a Southern Conference, run-rule seven-inning contest Sunday afternoon at Gray-Minor Stadium.

The victory helped Furman (19-21, 4-8 SoCon) avoid the series sweep at the hands of VMI (21-18, 9-6 SoCon) and halted the Keydets' seven-game winning streak.

Huebner's four hits, which featured three singles and a double, marked a career high for the junior shortstop and highlighted the 22-hit barrage by the Paladins, topping last Wednesday's 18-hit performance in a 15-12 win over Gardner-Webb.

Every starter in the Furman lineup scored and had multiple hits, including a 3-for-5 effort by Logan TaplettJason Costa and Jabari Richards both cracked three-run home runs for the Paladins, whose 19-run output was the most against a SoCon foe since Furman rolled The Citadel, 19-2, last year in Greenville in a series sweep of the Bulldogs.

Bertrand (4-1), meanwhile, delivered a solid five innings of work in place of regular Sunday starter Matt Lazzaro, who was held out of the start as a precaution.  The redshirt freshman left-hander allowed only a run on six hits and struck out two.  His replacement, Tyler Kimbrell, didn't allow a hit over the final two innings.

Furman took command of the contest early, scoring a season high nine runs on eight hits in the second inning.  Jake Crawford's steal of home on a double steal opened the big frame, and Huebner registered his first of four hits with an RBI single to score Richards to make it 2-0 and begin a string of four consecutive base hits by the Paladins, who tacked on a pair of bases loaded walks and a Jake Crawford three-run double.

In the Furman third Costa and Richards treated Keydet reliever Eric Byrd rudely by launching a pair of three-run home runs to extend the lead to 15-1, and the Paladins tacked on four more runs in the fifth, highlighted by a Brandon Elmy two-run double.

VMI managed just six hits.

Keydets' starter Kyle Staats (4-3) was charged with the loss, lasting just 1 1/3 innings and giving up nine runs, eight earned, on seven hits.  He walked three.

The 19 runs were the most by Furman against VMI since the Paladins posted a 25-18 win over the Keydets in Lexington during the 2000 campaign.

Sunday's result helped the Paladins improve to 3-1 in run-rule, shortened games since the league implemented the criteria, which requires at least a 10-run lead after seven innings in series finale contests or in SoCon Tournament play.

Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information