Baseball drops heartbreaker to Bethune-Cookman, 4-3
Freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen
Freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen
Everything was aligned for another Dolphins victory but the magic from last night carried over again for the Wildcats as the JU baseball team fell to Bethune-Cookman, 4-3, Wednesday evening at Jackie Robinson Park.

JU (4-4) held a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning but B-CU (3-7) rallied for a run in the eighth before getting a suicide squeeze bunt with the bases loaded in the ninth to win it.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Juan Perez drew a walk on a full count. In the next at-bat, Matt Wright looked to go around on a second strike but was ruled a check swing to stay alive. On the next pitch, Wright executed a hit-and-run to second that got by senior Chuck Opachich on his way to cover the bag and allowed Perez to go to third. After intentionally walking Ryan Durrence to load the bases, Brandon Turner laid down a squeeze bunt to third to win it.

“You don’t see this happen very often for us but you have to tip your cap to Bethune-Cookman tonight,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “You can’t expect to rely on a one-run lead in college baseball and Bethune-Cookman is too good of a team to not put up a fight.”

Junior Chris Kaminski (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Junior Matt Loosen earned a no-decision despite allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings. Sophomore Clay Kollenbaum allowed only two hits with a walk and four strikeouts in two scoreless innings of relief.

Chris Anselmo (1-0) got the win after striking out four batters in 2.1 innings of perfect relief. Roman Lancara got the no-decision after allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits with six walks and six strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

Freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen led the Dolphins by going 2-for-3 with a triple. Sophomore right fielder Jonathan Murphy and senior second baseman Chuck Opachich each drove in a run for JU.

Durrence and Emmanuel Castro each finished with multiple hits for the Wildcats.

The Dolphins took a 1-0 lead in the first when Opachich hit an RBI ground out to first with one out. Gulbransen led off the game with a triple to center. With one out, Opachich chopped a slow roller to first to drive in Gulbransen.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the first when Durrence hit an RBI single through the left side and Alejandro Jimenez flared an RBI single down the left-field line.

B-CU threatened in the bottom of the second with runners on first and second with one out but Loosen got Perez to ground into a double-play at third to end the inning.

The Dolphins evened up the contest, 2-2, in the top of the third when junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins scored from third after a throwing error by Wildcat shortstop Alejandro Sanchez.

JU took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth when Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to right. Junior catcher Alex Swenson led off the inning with a walk before advancing to third on a single to right center by Gulbransen. In the next at-bat, Murphy hit a high fly into the right field corner to plate Swenson.

B-CU threatened in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and second with one out but Kollenbaum got Sanchez to strike out looking and Justin Hoyte to strike out swinging to end the inning.

The Wildcats kept the pressure on again in the bottom of the seventh when C.J. Lauriello led off with a single to center. Kollenbaum would get Perez to fly out and strike out Matt Wright looking to get two outs but back-to-back wild pitches put Lauriello on third. With a full count on Durrence, Kollenbaum got a swinging strikeout in the dirt which Swenson picked up and threw to first for the final out.

B-CU evened things up, 3-3, in the bottom of the eighth when Sanchez hit an RBI grounder to second with a runner on third base and one out.