SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2009
Baseball comes alive in 9-3 win over FIU
The third time was the charm as freshman first baseman Kevin Lehane went 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run and three RBI to lead the JU baseball team to a 9-3 win over Florida International, Sunday afternoon in the series finale at University Park.
JU (1-2), which managed only three runs and seven hits through the first two games, finished with nine runs on 10 hits while committing no errors defensively.
FIU (2-1) held an early 2-0 lead after three innings but managed only one run the rest of the way while committing a game-high three errors.
“I’m really proud of the way we bounced back today,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We had a tough loss on Friday and then we got embarrassed last night. Today, we came out focused and played the way we are capable of. Now we need to incorporate this focus and approach to every game.”
Junior Carson Andrew (1-0) earned the win after allowing only two runs (all in the first inning) on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in four innings of a designated start. Sophomore Matt Loosen allowed only one run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts in three innings of relief. Sophomores Matt Tomshaw and Chris Kaminski also combined for two innings of shutout relief.
Corey Polizzano (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits with four strikeouts in four innings.
Along with Lehane, junior right fielder Thomas Myers drove in two runs with a double and senior catcher Jeremy Gillan went 2-for-4 with a double and a solo homer to pace the Dolphin offense.
Tim Jobe led the Golden Panthers after going 3-for-4 from the plate with a home run and two RBI. Raiko Alfolsno also finished with multiple hits for FIU.
FIU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Tyler Towsend hit an RBI single into right center and Garrett Wittels drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. With the bases loaded, Wittles lined a shot to center where freshman Joey Belviso made a diving catch. Townsend scored on the sac fly but Steven Stropp was doubled off of second to end the inning.
The Golden Panthers threatened in the second inning with a runner on third base and one out but Andrew got Michael Vargas to ground out to third for the final out.
JU took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Myers hit a two-run double and then scored on a fielding error at third base. Junior left fielder Kyle Fleming led off the inning with a single to second and then advanced to third on a double to right by Gillan. With runners on second and third, Myers cleared the bases with a shot in the left-center gap. After senior designated hitter Dan Maier was hit by a pitch, Myers stole third and then trotted home when Wittels missed the throw from catcher Steven Stropp.
The Dolphins increased their lead to 7-2 in the sixth when Gillan hit a solo homer, Lehane recorded a two run triple and junior third baseman Derek Abis tallied an RBI single.
Gillan led off the inning by crushing the pitch he saw over the left field wall for JU’s first home run of the season. After Myers drew a walk and advanced to third when Maier’s grounder to short was booted by Junior Arrojo, Lehane cleared the bases with a drive to the right-center wall. Abis followed with a single through the left side, past a drawn-in infield, to plate Lehane. FIU cut the deficit to 7-3 in the seventh when Tim Jobe hit a lead-off homer off the left field scoreboard.
JU made it 9-3 in the eighth when Lehane hit a solo home run and freshman shortstop Jimmy Howick scored from third on a passed ball. Lehane led off the inning by hitting the first pitch over the left field wall for his first collegiate home run. With two outs, Howick walked before advancing to third on a single to left center by junior second baseman Chuck Opachich. In the next at-bat, Mason McVay’s pitch got away from Stropp which allowed Howick to score.
JU will return home to host the second –annual JU Invitational at John Sessions Stadium beginning on Friday with Akron at 4:30 p.m. Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee will open the tourney at 1 p.m. All JU contests can be followed live on ASun.TV through JUDolphins.com.