Craig Hopkins Drives In Winning Run As Claflin Defeats Southern Wesleyan


NCAA DII/SIAC/Independent/Baseball


Claflin Sports Information


Florence, S.C. – Craig Hopkins hit a single to left field to bring in Tavion Towers for the game-winning run as Claflin University edged Southern Wesleyan University 13-12 in the Pepsi Pop-Off Series at Sparrow Stadium on Friday (Feb. 1).

The one-run victory earned Claflin its first season-opening win in nine years. The last successful opening day for a Panther team was a 13-5 win over Voorhees College (Oct. 2, 2010).

In pulling out the late-game win, Claflin blew a 12-6 lead after six innings of play. Southern Wesleyan pushed across three runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings, tying the contest at 12-12 and setting the stage for the Panthers win.

Josh Core, the loser for Southern Wesleyan, came in relief of Aaron Bennett in the bottom of the ninth.

Core gave up a single to Edzavial Paul, who was pinch ran for by Towers.

Towers then advanced to second base on a wild pitch and later came home on the single by Hopkins.

Angel Morel, 1-0, picked up the win for Claflin, allowing three hits and a run over two innings of work.

The Panthers starter Dillon Parker pitched six strong innings, giving up six runs on six hits and striking out four batters.

Claflin, which pounded out 15 hits in the game, was led at the plate by Clyde Parker who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs, followed by Grayland Fowler and Eric McElveen with two hits and 2 RBIs each.

Other top hitters for the Panthers included Elliott MeltonGarardic Dobbs and Paul who all finished with two hits and an RBI each, while Hopkins added a hit and 2 RBIs.

Southern Wesleyan was led by Juilo Justo who finished the game 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs.

Claflin will wrap up play in the Pepsi Pop-Off Series event on Saturday (Feb. 3), taking on the host team Francis Marion at 4 p.m.

The last time Claflin and Francis Marion met in a season-opening invitational was during the 2017 campaign. The Patriots wiped out a 4-3 Claflin lead with a four-run seventh in winning 7-4.

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