SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010
Baseball comes back to life with 9-8 win over No. 4 UNF
Sophomore Jimmy Howick
Sophomore Jimmy Howick
After over four hours of delays due to lightning and rain and blowing a 7-2 lead, the Dolphins had to resuscitate themselves with two runs in the ninth as the JU baseball team kept the pulse of its 2010 season alive with a 9-8 win over No. 4 UNF, Friday evening in the eighth game of the 2010 Atlantic Sun Championship at Dugan Field.

JU (27-28), which entered the contest with a 0-20 record on the year when trailing after eight innings, got only six hits in the game but three of them, came in the ninth.

UNF (30-28) scored six unanswered runs to take an 8-7 lead in the seventh but could not find three outs to end the game.

“This was an unbelievable game,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We were so flat after the second delay and UNF really took advantage of it. Fortunately, we were able to stay close and string some hits together in the ninth. We have shown a lot of fortitude in the last two games and now we get to see what happens tomorrow.”

Trailing 8-7 in the ninth, senior second baseman Chuck Opachich led off the inning with a single through the left side. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore left fielder Jonathan Murphy, junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins laced an RBI triple into left center to tie the game. After intentional walks to freshman center fielder Dan Gulbransen and senior first baseman Alex Martinez to load the bases, sophomore third baseman Jimmy Howick slapped an RBI single to second to end the game.

Sophomore Clay Kollenbaum (1-3) got the win after stopping the UNF onslaught by allowing only one hit with four strikeouts in three innings of relief. Junior Matt Loosen got a no-decision after allowing seven runs on 11 hits with five walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

Casey Medlen (4-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on two hits with four walks and a strikeout in two innings. John Atteo also got a no-decision after allowing seven runs (two earned) on one hit with three walks in 2.1 innings.

Opachich was the lone Dolphin to finish with multiple hits in the game while Martinez and Howick each drove in two runs.

Justin Preckajlo led the Ospreys by going 3-for-4 with two home runs and two RBI. David Eldredge and Michael Smith also finished with three hits apiece to lead UNF.

UNF took a 1-0 lead in the first when Smith hit an RBI single up the middle. The Ospreys attempted to plate another run but sophomore left fielder Jonathan Murphy gunned down Eldredge at the plate to end the inning.

JU took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the first when Murphy scored from third on a throwing error by Osprey catcher Corey Bass and Martinez followed with an RBI single.

The Ospreys evened the contest, 2-2, in the third when Preckajlo led off the inning with a solo homer to left field.

The Dolphins opened a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the third when Martinez drew a bases loaded walk, Howick drove in a run with a chopper to third, a run scored on a throwing error by UNF third baseman T.J. Thompson, freshman designated hitter Adam Brett Walker drove in a run with a ground out to third and a run scored on a wild pitch by Robbie Collier.

UNF cut the margin to 7-3 in the fourth when Preston Hale hit an RBI single through the right side with two outs.

After a two hour delay, the Ospreys made it 7-5 in the sixth when Sam Perry and Preckajlo each hit solo homers to left.

UNF took an 8-7 lead in the seventh when Smith and Ryan Roberson each hit an RBI single and Perry hit a sacrifice fly to center.

Prior to the JU/UNF game, No. 1 FGCU was elimnated by No. 3 ETSU after the Bucs rallief for a 12-10 win.

With the change in tournament schedule from the delays, the Dolphins will next face No. 2 Mercer (2-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT regardless of any outcome in the first game. The Bears will open the day against No. 3 ETSU (1-1) at 11 a.m. CT. If the Bucs win, they will await the winner of the JU/Mercer game for the championship on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. If the Bears eliminate the Bucs, Mercer and JU (1-1) will play at 6 p.m. CT, with the Dolphins needing to win to force a final game againt the Bears on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT in the championship game.