Winners of five of its last six games, Furman’s baseball team will make its first appearance at Greenville’s Fluor Field this season when it takes on a pair of Big Ten Conference opponents this weekend in the First Pitch Invitational, sponsored by the Greenville Drive.
Furman (8-5) will face Michigan State in a 6 p.m. Friday contest and Illinois on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Paladins and Spartans have been near annual foes in the First Pitch Invitational over the last decade, having battled nine times at Fluor Field since 2010. Saturday’s clash will mark Furman’s first against the Fighting Illini in the First Pitch Invitational and only the second meeting on the diamond between the two schools.
Tickets to all college games at Fluor Field can be purchased through the Greenville Drive.
Both games will be live streamed through the SoCon Digital Network and audio streamed via Stretch Audio, with “The Voice of the Paladins” Dan Scott on the call. Links to video and audio streams, as well as StatBroadcast live stats are all available thru FurmanPaladins.com. Fans can also follow the action via twitter @FurmanBaseball.
The Paladins are expected to start freshman left-hander Matt Lazzaro (0-2, 7.31 ERA) against Michigan State and redshirt junior left-hander Grant Schuermann (2-1, 2.70 ERA) versus Illinois.
Furman is off coming a two-game mid-week series sweep of Penn at Latham Stadium. In defeating the Quakers 12-4 and 4-1, on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, the Paladins extended their winning streak to three games and notched their fifth victory in their last six outings, which began with a 6-4 road triumph over South Carolina on Feb. 27.
Improved pitching and a recharged offense have fueled head coach Brett Harker’s squad’s recent surge. After suffering a three-game series sweep, including a pair of shutouts, at the hands of 12th-ranked N.C. State (Feb. 23-25), Furman has rebounded to hit .337 and post a 4.00 staff ERA over the last six games. Junior third baseman Jake Crawford (.486, 1 HR, 7 RBI) paces the Paladins’ attack while freshman center fielder Ben Anderson(.392, .467 OB%) continues to impress, hitting .541 (13×24) over the last six games.
Furman is slated to play four regular season games this year at Fluor Field, site of the 2018 Southern Conference Tournament (May 22-26), including clashes with Clemson (Mar. 27) and South Carolina (Apr. 24). All told, the Paladins have played 69 games in Fluor Field since battling South Carolina in the first game contest in the then-new facility on May 16, 2006.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information