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2024 Freed-Hardeman Baseball season ends in heartbreak

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By Dustin Semore, FHU Information Director

Facing elimination in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, the Freed-Hardeman University Lions were an inning away from victory, but the (RV) Columbia (Mo.) College Cougars plated two in the bottom of the ninth to end the 2024 Lion season.
As the No. 4 seed in the tournament, the Lions (30-20-1) had early fireworks when Jordan Carter’s line drive was missed by the outfielder for a four-base error to put FHU on top 1-0. The Cougars, however, answered with a three-run, four-hit bottom of the first to take a 3-1 lead.
Both teams were scoreless the next two frames until a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fourth inning gave third-seeded Columbia (38-15) a 4-1 advantage.
The Lions would answer in the top of the fifth when Cade Fuller took a 1-1 fastball over the deepest part of the park for a solo shot to cut into the lead now 4-2.
Jordan Carter and Cam Madding led off the top of the sixth with back-to-back singles before Fuller struck again, this time shooting a full-count two-out offering over the wall in left to drive in three and give the Lions the 5-4 lead.
A scoreless seventh and eighth led to heartbreaking ninth for the Lions. A walk and a pair of singles put the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run in scoring position while loading up the bases. The Lion bullpen fought through full counts, but surrendered back-to-back bases-loaded walks to see the tying and winning runs cross to end the season in a 6-5 defeat.
Colton Bryant had the start, striking out three in six innings of effort. Seth Creasy (3-2) was saddled with the loss, going two innings where he struck out three before Evan Koob’s effort ended with two walks.
Cade Fuller’s 2-4 day included a set of home runs where he drove in four of FHU’s five runs. Jordan Carter, Cannon Daversa, Austin Johnson, and Cam Madding recorded the other four FHU hits with singles.


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