Division II Francis Marion used a three run third inning a clutch bases loaded hit by Stephen Tarkenton to shock defending DivisIon I national champion South Carolina 5-4 at Sparrow Stadium in Florence on Wedneday night. Ray Tanner agreed to play the Division II Patriots to help christen their new athletic facility.
A sold out crowd of over 1,700 saw Dr. Eddie Floyd, a key Gamecocks booster, throw out the first pitch. The Florence native played a key role in the matchup of the Gamecocks and Patriots. USC lefty Adam Westmoreland found trouble in the third inning as Tyler Hibbs and Buddy Sosonski belted RBI singles to put the Patriots in front 2-0. Westmoreland was pulled in favor of Patrick Sullivan who threw a wild pitch that gave the Pats a 3-0 advantage.
USC got on the board with single runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Christian Walker launched a mammoth home runs just past the new scoreboard in left field followed by a Donte Rosenberg RBI single to make it a 3-2 game. But the Patriots would load the bases in the seventh and Stephen Tarkenton delivered the big blow off of USC reliever Evan Beal. Tarkenton drove home two to make it a 5-2 game.
The Gamecocks got a run in the 8th on a Walker RBI single and an RBI groundout in the 9th to make it 5-4, but the Patriots held on for victory. The Gamecocks drop to 24-10 while FMU improves to 27-13.