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Railsplitters rally to edge Claflin, 8-6

ORANGEBURG, SC -- On the wings of seven runs over the final four innings, the Railsplitters erased a 5-1 deficit en route to an 8-6 victory over the Claflin University Panthers in non-conference baseball action on Wednesday afternoon in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Lincoln Memorial University (1-3) snapped a three-game losing streak to open the season with the win, while Claflin (0-4) was sunk for the fourth-consecutive time to open the 2013 campaign.

The Railsplitters broke out offensively in the nine-inning victory over the Panthers, as they pounded out 12 hits and amassed eight runs. Cody Baker led the way at the top of the order for Lincoln Memorial with a three-for-five effort, which was matched by Andre Rodriguez, who added three runs and an RBI to his stat ledger. Six other hitters tallied a base-knock in the game to round out the Railsplitters' 12-hit outburst. Colin Buckner and Lee Agosto added two RBIs apiece while each of those individuals finished one-for-five at the plate.

Lincoln Memorial opened with a first-inning single by Cody Baker, however, the senior was caught stealing to stifle the potential rally. In the bottom half of that frame, the Panthers capitalized by taking early command of the board, as Cody Huck was hit by a pitch and Julio Iglesias drove him home with a two-run blast. The Railsplitters hit three more batter to load the bases, however, Ian Creager came on to record the final out of the frame.

After an unblemished second frame, LMU put one run on the board. Carter Pack led off with a single, advanced to second on a ground out, moved to third on Cody Baker's single and scored on Colin Buckner single to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Panthers answered that run with a one-run fourth and a two-run fifth to establish a 5-1 advantage. Claflin used an RBI-ground out by Cody Huck to earn their run in the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the fifth, they rallied with two-outs, using a Darius Osby single and a Travis Griffin ground out to score two.

Beginning in the top of the sixth, the Railsplitters began to chip away at the deficit. Andre Rodriguez pounded a one-out single, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a fly out and scored on an error later in the inning to move the score to 5-2. The Railsplitters added another run in the top of the seventh frame, as Cody Baker notched a two-out single and scored on an error by the second baseman in the next at-bat.

Trailing 5-3, the Railsplitters rallied to knot the game with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth. Rodriguez opened with his third hit of the game, a single to third base, and newcomer Josh Coker pounded a double in the next at-bat to put runners on second and third with no outs. Colin Buckner drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly two batters later and pinch hitter Nick Pressley capped the scoring rally with an RBI single three batters later to plate Coker.

The Railsplitters briefly relinquished the lead in the bottom of the eighth, as the Panthers plated a run on Jasper Brown's RBI single, however, LMU responded with three runs on three hits in the top of the ninth to stave off defeat. Andre Rodriguez, Colin Buckner and Nick Morabito all notched RBI singles in that frame to pace the scoring. The Panthers mounted a brief rally in the bottom of the ninth, as Travis Griffin tallied a one-out single. However, a strike out and a line out ended the game for the Panthers with LMU earning an 8-6 win on the road.

Four pitchers combined to lead the Railsplitters to victory in today's contest. Dillon Swaggerty picked up the win, the first of his collegiate career, after coming on in relief. Swaggerty allowed three hits and one run while striking out two over the final two frames. Patrick Morris tossed two solid innings, surrendering only one hit and no runs over that span, while Ian Creager ate up four and a third innings of relief. Creager allowed five hits and three runs over that span after relieving starter Dylan Reid in the opening frame.

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