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Furman Clips UNC Asheville, 3-2

Furman Clips UNC Asheville, 3-2

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Four pitchers combined to throw seven innings of three-hit, shutout relief to lift Furman past UNC Asheville, 3-2, in baseball action Tuesday evening at Greenwood Field.

The victory earned Furman (13-23) the season split with UNC Asheville (12-23) heading into the Paladins' three-game Southern Conference road series against Western Carolina beginning on Thursday in Cullowhee, N.C.

Nik Verbeke, Hank Nichols, Mason Kenney, and Eric Taylor combined to limit the Bulldogs to just three singles over the final seven frames, allowing the Paladins to overcome an early 2-1 deficit

Furman grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fifth, taking advantage of pair of Bulldog throwing errors to plate a pair of runs.

Jabari Richards' bunt single allowed David Webel to score from third base after Webel singled, stole second, and advanced to third on the first of two UNCA errors.  Richards followed suit by swiping second and moving to third when the throw of catcher Joe Gruszka sailed into center field. He then trotted home on Dax Roper's RBI double to center field.

Verbeke (2-2) took over for starting pitcher Jordan Beatson in the third and hurled two shutout innings, allowing only a walk.  Nichols followed with a scoreless fifth and sixth, and Kenney checked the Bulldogs in the seventh and eighth.

Taylor came on in the ninth and worked around a one-out walk to secure the win and earn his first save of the season.

The victory was Verbeke's second in his last two appearances.

Paladin pitching was aided by Furman's defense, which turned three double plays.

Sterling Turmon's team leading 10th home run, a solo shot, gave Furman a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but UNC Asheville answered with two, two-out runs in the second against Beatson to take a 2-1 lead.

Furman stranded 13 base runners in the contest, leaving runners on in every frame beginning in the second.  In the seventh the Paladins loaded the bases with no outs but couldn't score following two strikeouts and an inning ending fly out.

Roper was joined by Anthony Fontana and Bret Huebner in registering two-hit performances in the Paladins' 11-hit attack.

UNCA finished with seven hits.