SUNDAY, MARCH 08, 2009
Alexander gets 600th win with JU’s 8-7 victory over UNF
It was a banner day at Johns Sessions Stadium as Dolphin head coach Terry Alexander earned his 600th career victory while JU wrapped up the SunTrust River City Rumble title with an 8-7 win over UNF, Sunday afternoon.
JU (6-5, 2-1), which took home the Old Wooden Barrel by an 11-3 tally, scored six runs in the third and two runs in the sixth to take the opening A-Sun series for both schools.
UNF (5-8, 1-2) rallied from an 8-2 deficit by scoring five runs in the seventh but left 12 runners on base in the contest.
“This was a great weekend series of baseball,” said Alexander, who is in his 19th season as head coach at JU. “Every game was a hard fought battle and I have the upmost respect for Dusty Rhodes and his program. I think this is a series that the city of Jacksonville can get behind and be proud of.
“To reach 600 wins is a tribute to having good players in your program. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the alumni of this program and guys who are playing for me now. They are the ones who have made this achievement possible.”
Junior Glenn Witkowski (1-0) notched his first win after allowing two runs on eights hits with a walk and two strikeouts in six innings. Sophomore Matt Tomshaw and senior Joey Wedner combined for 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Sophomore Chris Kaminski notched his second save after hurling a perfect ninth.
John Atteo (1-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work.
Junior center fielder Chuck Opachich led the Dolphins by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Junior first baseman Alex Martinez went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI while senior right fielder Thomas Myers also finished with multiple hits.
Preston Hale led the Ospreys by going 4-for-5 with a double while Kevin Martin finished 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.
The Ospreys took a 1-0 lead in the first when Hale laced an RBI double off the left-center wall.
JU took a commanding 6-1 advantage in the third when junior left fielder Esterlin Perozo hit a two-run single, senior catcher Jeremy Gillan recorded a sacrifice fly, Myers dropped in an RBI single and Martinez hit a two-run homer.
Freshman shortstop Jimmy Howick was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before the Dolphins loaded the bases with consecutive bunt singles by sophomore second baseman Jamaal Hawkins and Opachich. In the next at-bat, Perozo hit a liner into right center to drive in two runs and move Opachich to third. Gillan followed with a deep fly to center to drive in another run. With one out, Martinez cleared the wall in straight away center for his second home run of the season.
UNF cut the deficit to 6-2 in the sixth when Martin hit an RBI double over the bag at third.
The Dolphins increased the lead to 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Opachich hit a two-run double over the bag at third. Freshman third baseman Derik Grimes led off the inning with a single through the left side and then advanced to second when Hawkins was hit by a pitch. In the next at-bat, Opachich pulled a ball down the left-field line to clear the bases.
UNF cut the margin to 8-7 in the seventh when David Eldredge dropped in a two-run single with the bases loaded and Martin followed with a three-run homer to right center with two outs.
The Ospreys threatened with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth but Wedner got Eldredge to foul out to third to end the inning.
JU will continue its homestand at Johns Sessions Stadium against Georgia Southern on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV.