Kevin Lehane’s walk-off single finalizes 4-3 rally win over UNC Wilmington
Freshman Kentrail Pierce
Freshman Kentrail Pierce
Sophomore Kevin Lehane pulled a pinch hit single through the left side with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to complete a three-run rally win for Dolphins as the JU baseball team defeated UNC Wilmington, 4-3, Sunday afternoon in the series finale at John Sessions.

JU (1-2) rallied from a 3-1 deficit by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth before Lehane’s RBI single in the ninth.

UNCW (2-1) took advantage of two JU errors in the first to take another early 2-0 lead but a costly error in the ninth became the potential winning run in the contest.

“We needed to get a win today and we found a way to get it done,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “This was a complete team effort because everyone contributed in some way to give us a chance to come back. Our pitching staff did a tremendous job and we were able to get the big hit when we needed it.”

Senior first baseman Alex Martinez led off the ninth with a grounder down the third-base line which was snagged by Michael Bass but his throw wasn’t controlled in the glove of first baseman Andrew Cain, causing an error.

Sophomore Jonathan Murphy entered as a pinch runner and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Chris Connelly. After an intentional walk to junior catcher Alex Swenson and a walk to senior third baseman Derek Abis, Lehane entered the game and pulled the first pitch for the win.

Freshman Kentrail Pierce (1-0) recorded his first collegiate win after hurling 0.2 innings of shutout relief. Junior Chris Kaminski got the no-decision despite allowing two unearned runs on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts in a career-high seven innings.

Bryan Booth (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing an unearned run, a hit and two walks in one inning of relief. Daniel Cropper also got the no-decision despite allowing only one run on five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.

Along with Martinez, senior second baseman Chuck Opachich (double) and freshman designated hitter Adam Brett Walker (double) each finished with multiple hits in the contest.

Thomas Pope led the Seahawks by going 2-for-4 with a double.

UNCW took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after taking advantage of two fielding errors by the Dolphins.

The Dolphins cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the second when senior first baseman Alex Martinez hit an RBI single to right.

Freshman designated hitter Adam Brett Walker led off the inning with a double to left. With one out, Martinez laced a single into right to put JU on the board.

UNCW extended the lead to 3-1 in the top of the eighth when pinch hitter Hunter Ridge knocked a base hit back up the middle with two outs.

The Dolphins evened up the contest, 3-3, in the bottom of the eighth when junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins hit fa sacrifice fly to right and a run scored from third on a passed ball.

Junior Derek Abis opened the inning with a pinch hit single to left and then moved to third on a single through the right side by freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen. Hawkins followed with a fly to right to score Abis and then senior second baseman Chuck Opachich dropped a single into right. After both runners advanced on a grounder to third by Walker, catcher Cody Stanley had a ball get past him to allow Gulbransen to score from third.

The Seahawks threatened with runners on first and second with one out, Pierce entered the contest and got Andrew Caine to ground out to third and Cody Stanley to ground out to first to end the inning unscathed.

The Dolphins will return to action on Tuesday at 4 p.m. against College of Charleston at John Sessions Stadium.