FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Eight games at Fluor Field, including clashes against both South Carolina and Clemson, and 46 contests within the Palmetto state highlight Furman’s 2013 baseball schedule, which was released today by Paladin head coach Ron Smith.
Furman will play the Gamecocks on Apr. 3 at Fluor Field and Clemson on May 8 as part of a 32-game home schedule that also features clashes with Northwestern (Feb. 15), Michigan State (Feb. 16 & 23), Miami of Ohio (Feb. 17), and Cincinnati (Feb. 23) at the beautiful downtown facility, which serves as the home of the Boston Red Sox Single A South Atlantic League affiliate Greenville Drive.
The Paladins also will face Davidson at Fluor Field (Mar. 17) on St. Patrick’s Day but will be the designated visitor in the finale of a three-game Southern Conference road series against the Wildcats.
In addition, Furman and Fluor Field will play host to the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament, scheduled for May 22-26 for the league’s top eight qualifiers.
The Paladins open the 2012 campaign on Feb. 15 against Northwestern at Fluor Field and, in all, will play their first seven games at home, including five at Fluor.
Furman plays its first road game of the campaign at South Carolina on Feb. 26 and three days later (Mar. 1) will open SoCon play with a three-game road series at Elon.
The Paladins are scheduled to face Coastal Carolina (Mar. 5-6) in a two-game set at Pelican Stadium in Myrtle Beach before returning home to take on SoCon foe Appalachian State (Mar. 8-10) at Latham Stadium on campus.
Gardner-Webb (Feb. 20), Eastern Kentucky (Mar. 12), Presbyterian (Mar. 28 & 30), Winthrop (May 1), and Dayton (May 16-18) are among other non-conference opponents slated to pay visits to Greenville.
Furman posted a 28-31 overall record, 13-17 SoCon mark, and qualified for league tournament play with an eighth place regular season finish in 2012. The Paladins went 2-2 in SoCon Tournament action, eliminating No. 5 seed Western Carolina (9-8) and No. 1 seed and league regular season champion Appalachian State (13-4) before being ousted by eventual tournament champion Samford.
Among the Paladins’ leading returnees are seven of the squad’s nine pitchers who worked at least 15 innings a year ago, including sophomore right-hander Elliott Warford (6-0, 3.61 ERA, 7 SV), a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America pick in 2012, senior left-hander Nate Smith (4-5, 5.54 ERA), junior right-hander Tyler Wood (3-7, 5.83 ERA), and right-handed sophomore reliever Matt Solter (2-2, 5.40 ERA, 1 SV). Right-handed reliever Drake Browne (2-2, 3.62 ERA in 2011) is also scheduled to return to the mound this spring after missing the 2012 campaign following Tommy John surgery.
Seven position players are back, led by senior outfielder Taylor Johnson (.322, 5 HR, 31 RBI), senior catcher/first baseman Paul Nitto (.303, 4 HR, 47 RBI), and senior second baseman/outfielder Will Muzika (.284, 3 HR, 33 RBI). In addition, the Paladins count junior shortstop Hunter Burton (.286, 0 HR, 18 RBI, 15 stolen bases), sophomore outfielder Jake Jones (.284, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 18 stolen bases) sophomore third baseman Chris Ohmstede (.286, 6 HR, 27 RBI), and junior third baseman/relief pitcher Alex Abrams (.251,1 HR, 17 RBI / 0-1, 6.32 ERA, 2 SV) among the list of returning veterans with notable starting experience.
Johnson and Ohmstede were both named to the SoCon All-Tournament Team in 2012.