GREENVILLE -- Ryan Presnell went 3-for-3 with three RBI, two walks, and three runs scored to lead Furman to a 12-3 Southern Conference win over visiting East Tennessee State Friday afternoon at Furman Stadium.
The win, Furman's second straight following a 5-4 triumph over nationally fifth-ranked South Carolina on Wednesday, improves the Paladins' season record to 13-6 and Southern Conference mark to 3-1. East Tennessee State drops to 5-12 overall and 1-3 in league action.
The Buccaneers took a 1-0 lead in the first when Kirk Keithley scored from second on a fielding error by Furman shortstop Danny Rueckel.
Furman's Derek Norman tripled with one out in the bottom of the first and later scored on a balk by East Tennessee State pitcher Josh Kite to tie the game at 1-1.
The Paladins grabbed the lead for good in the second when Adam Etherington belted a two-out, two-run home run to left centerfield off Kite, giving the Paladins a 3-1 lead.
The Buccaneers made it 3-2 in the third on an RBI double by Andy Baxter, but the Paladins came back with three runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a two-run double by Norman, to go ahead 6-2.
After the Buccaneers made it 6-3 in the fourth, Furman, using four hits, including an RBI triple by Presnell, blew the game open with four runs in the bottom of the inning to stretch its lead to 10-3.
East Tennessee State loaded the bases in the seventh inning with three straight singles, but the Buccaneer rally ended when Furman rightfielder Chris Valdes made a diving catch on a line drive by Brandon Cross and then doubled off Keithley at third and Baxter at second to complete a rare triple play.
Furman starting pitcher Corey Etheridge (3-1) yielded six hits and struck out six and walked one over six innings to gain the win. Josh Kite (1-2) took the loss for East Tennessee State after giving up six runs and a pair of walks in three innings of work.
Furman's 13-hit attack included a 3-for-4, two RBI, three-run performance by Derek Norman and a 2-for-4, two RBI outing by Adam Etherington. Tim Turner went 3-for-4 for East Tennessee State.
"We swung the bat well and were able to get some base hits with men on base," said Furman head coach Ron Smith. "We didn't play a real tight game defensively with three errors, but I did think we were focused offensively, had some real good at bats, and put the ball in play, especially with runners on base. And our pitchers did a good job in only walking one guy."
Furman and East Tennessee State return for the second game in the three-game conference series on Saturday beginning at 1:00 p.m.