The FMU men’s baseball team began the season with a huge triumph over Southern Wesleyan University 11-1 on Friday, Feb. 1 at the Sparrow Stadium.
Starting off the season with success, senior right-hand pitcher Evan Flynn tossed six strong innings.
Head Coach Art Inabinet said Flynn always comes out and plays strong.
“That’s typical Evan,” Inabinet said. “He comes out and he really competes, and he throws a lot of pitches that are hard to square up.”
Senior right fielder Cole Hinnant brought in three runs and three hits with a huge base-clearing double.
“I thought I was good,” Hinnant said. “I mean, I was seeing the ball really well. I think we could work more on just making the fundamental plays.”
Along with Flynn and Hinnant, junior infielder Nick Pappas hit 2-for-5, which helped to carry the offense throughout the game.
“He’s been hurt a lot of the spring so for him to come out and square some ball up like that was really impressive,” Inabinet said.
The Patriots led the game with a strong offense. In the first inning, Pappas hit two runs batted in for his first collegiate game at bat, allowing his teammates to score.
Freshman Brayden Barry went three innings and achieved seven strikeouts as a new pitcher getting his first taste of the action.
Inabinet said he was very proud of Barry’s performance. Barry achieved his first ever save in his collegiate career.
“I’m really proud of him tonight,” Inabinet said. “You know, that was really extended for three innings, but we wanted to get him out there to see how he would react, and boy, he didn’t disappoint tonight. He was spot on.”
The fifth inning marked the most pivotal inning in the game, putting the score to 11-1.
In the fifth inning, the team used seven walks to advance. Senior left fielder Henry Davis IV sent junior second base Grayson Cottingham to home base with a sacrifice fly.
“We played fairly well tonight,” Inabinet said. “I would like to play a little bit better defense because we walked a few too many people.”
Inabinet was anxious and ready to see his team compete and was not disappointed with the opening night.
Hinnant said he was pleased with how he and his team played. He also said each successful hit added to the momentum of the team, which will hopefully stay with them throughout the rest of their season.
“We have great chemistry with this team, and we fire each other up and that makes us play better,” said Hinnant.
With a spectacular win to start of the season, the team will use this momentum as they progress forward in their 2019 campaign.