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COA News 2024

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Franklin pushes in comeback win; KSU splits doubleheader on Saturday

CHARLOTTE, NC – Another extended comeback led by a great performance by Tanner Franklin and disciplined hitting late lifted Kennesaw State baseball to an 11-8 series win over Queens to split a doubleheader on Saturday night.

The Owls (22-16, 12-6 Atlantic Sun Conference) trailed 7-4 entering the sixth inning of game three and posted a three-run seventh and ninth inning to outpace the Royals’ stingy offense ( 11-28, 7-11 ASUN).

Franklin (2-1) picked up his second win of the 2024 season after a career-high 11-strikeout night, allowing zero hits and just one earned run, allowing Kennesaw State’s offense to rally in the final innings . He pitched the final four frames in the Owls’ 22nd win of 2024.

Aaron Posey hit the go-ahead RBI in the top of the ninth with two outs, setting up the three-run inning.

Nick Hassan posted one of the most memorable days of his KSU career, recording his 200th hit with four hits, seven RBI, including a grand slam that came at crucial moments for the Owl offense.

The senior became just the 10th Owl in Kennesaw State Division I history to have at least 200 career hits.

Left fielder Chris Cole had a remarkable Saturday with four hits and four runs scored in Saturday’s two games.

Kennesaw State set a new Division I program record with 15 walks in the final episode. The previous mark of 14 was achieved in 2007 at Jacksonville State.

The Owls came back Friday night to topple Queens 6-5 in the series opener. KSU fell 15-5 to the Royals in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

GAME TWO – W, 11-8
Hassan continued his impressive Saturday in the series finale, sending his 200th goal to the left for Cole to score. Cole reached base with a single of his own, improving his reached-base streak to 17 straight games. The Royals tied the game at one in the bottom of the first inning.

Zac Corbin drew a walk in the second inning, reaching his seventh straight game safely. Queens took its first lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the inning.

After walks from Hassan and Jackson Chirello In addition to a single by Posey, Corbin hit a 1-2 pitch to right that scored two and put KSU ahead again, 3-2. Queens took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the third.

A double of Isaac Bouton in the fourth, Cole scored as the Owls got back within one, 5-4. The Royals led 7-4 after five.

Bouton added another on a one-RBI single that scored Shamaar McDuffie in the top of the sixth inning. Franklin came in relief in the bottom of the seventh inning and retired three batters after the first two Queens batters reached base.

Queens collected the first two outs in the top of the seventh inning, but then allowed back-to-back walks Donovan Cash and McDuffie. After a single by Brayden Eidson loaded the bases, Cole, Bouton and Hassan recorded three consecutive bases-loaded walks to give Kennesaw State an 8-7 lead.

Eidson’s single hit an umpire and bounced into center field allowing Cash to come home, but after review they decided it was a dead ball and took the KSU run off the board. Queens tied the match at eighth at the bottom of the frame.

Franklin also struck out in the seventh, all on swinging strike threes. He collected nine straight outs via punchout with three K’s in the bottom of the eighth.

Posey singled up the middle in the top of the ninth to score Cole from second, putting KSU ahead again, 9-8.

After Chirello walked, Corbin and Cash hit back-to-back singles that added two more for the Black and Gold, 11-8, in the top of the ninth with two outs.

Franklin shut down the Royals in the bottom of the ninth with an impeccable frame and added two more punchouts to secure the 11-8 victory.

The final episode was delayed 90 minutes due to weather in the Charlotte area.

GAME ONE – L, 5-15 (8 innings)
Cole singled to center in the opening frame, extending his reached-base streak to 16 games. He then stole second place for his sixth stolen bag of 2024.

With two on and none out for Queens in the bottom of the first inning, starter Blake Aita forced a pair of swinging strikeouts and an error to end the scoring threat. Corbin improved his reached-base streak to six games after walking in the second inning.

Posey recorded his second goal of the game in the fourth. Queens led 7-0 after four. Eidson has now reached base safely in each of the last five games after being hit by a pitch in the fifth.

Cole had his second hit after Eidson’s HBP on a double. After Bouton walked, the bases were loaded for Hassan.

The Owl catcher went to the yard on a 2-0 pitch, putting the Owls back in the game, 7-4. Three ABs later, Posey scored his third goal of 2024, also on a 2-0 throw. The Royals took a 9-4 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

Posey recorded his second three-hit game in his last three appearances.

McDuffie’s reached-base streak now stands at five after a leadoff, eight-pitch walk in the sixth. After more walks by Eidson and Bouton, the bases were again under pressure for Hassan. On an 0-1 pitch, Hassan mashed an infield single that scored McDuffie, cutting the deficit to four, 9-5. Queens scored the final six points and won on the run rule, 15-5.

NEXT ONE
KSU returns to the diamond Tuesday, April 23 for a 6:00 PM battle at Georgia Tech on ACC Network Extra.

The Owls’ next game at Stillwell Stadium is a rematch against the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday, April 30. Fans can purchase tickets here.