Baseball falls in 4-3 heartbreaker to FIU in season opener
Senior Kyle Fleming
Senior Kyle Fleming
Despite holding a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, the Dolphins could not find a way to close things out as the JU baseball team dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Florida International, Friday evening in the 2009 season opener at University Park.

JU (0-1) scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take its first lead in the ballgame but a two-out two run blast on a 0-2 count by Tyler Townsend in the bottom of the eighth evened things up.

FIU (1-0), which finished with a game-high four errors, put runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before getting a push bunt single to first by Junior Arrojo, who beat out the play for the win.

“This is a tough way to lose a game but we did a lot of good things tonight,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Our pitching was outstanding and we played very solid defense. We just needed to come up with a couple of hits and things don’t play out the way they did.”

Senior Billy Schlee (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 3.2 innings of relief. Junior Glenn Witkowski (0-0) got the no-decision after allowing one run on five hits while striking out two in 4.2 innings.

Daniel DeSimone (1-0) got the win after hurling two innings of shutout relief. Scott Rembisz also earned a no-decision despite scattering two hits and striking out nine in six scoreless innings.

Senior catcher Jeremy Gillan extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single to center in the fourth and senior left fielder Kyle Fleming finished 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.

Townsend led the Panthers by going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.

The Golden Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Townsend hit an RBI single up the middle with one out. With a runner on first, Witkowski got himself out of trouble by inducing Steven Stropp into an inning ending double-play to third. FIU threatened in the second inning with a runner on second base and only one out but Witkowski got Greg Waddell to ground out to third and Lammar Guy to strikeout swinging to end the inning.

JU had something brewing in the third inning with runners on second and third with one out but consecutive swinging strikeouts for Rembisz ended the threat.

The Golden Panthers made another threat in the fourth inning with runners on first and second with one out but Witkowski got Waddell to fly out to left to end the inning.

JU took a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh after taking advantage of a hit batter, three walks and three throwing errors by the Golden Panthers.

Junior designated hitter Esterlin Perozo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then advanced to second on a walk to senior right fielder Thomas Myers. In the next at-bat, freshman shortstop Jimmy Howick laid down a sacrifice bunt but Towsend’s throw to first went wide, allowing Perozo to score.

In the next at-bat, sophomore second baseman Jamaal Hawkins reached on a throwing error by Garrett Wittles, allowing Myers to score. After freshman third baseman K.C. Clabough drew a walk to load the bases, Fleming drew a walk to plate Howick.

JU will continue its series against FIU on Saturday at 7 p.m. The contest can be followed live on livestats and through the Golden Panthers student broadcast through