TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2009
Baseball holds off Georgia Southern, 8-7
Junior center fielder Chuck Opachich went 4-for-5 with a triple and sophomore Chris Kaminski notched his third save to lead the JU baseball team to an 8-7 win over Georgia Southern, Tuesday evening at John Sessions Stadium.
The game was delayed 20 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning when a power surge in the Arlington area temporarily knocked out the stadium lights.
JU (7-5) won its third straight game after tallying 10 hits and scoring five unearned runs on two GSU (11-2) errors. The Eagles, which had their eight-game winning streak snapped, left 10 runners on base.
“We got a big break in the fourth inning but we were able to get some crucial runs in the fifth and sixth to give us some breathing room,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Georgia Southern is too good of a team not to come back but we made some great defensive plays and our staff made some big pitches to seal it.”
Sophomore Matt Tomshaw (1-1) earned the win after allowing only two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts in four innings of a predetermined start. Senior Joey Wedner allowed one unearned run in two solid innings of relief and Kaminski hurled 1.1 perfect innings to close it out, which included a diving snare on a ground ball by sophomore second baseman Jamaal Hawkins for the final out.
Colin Snow (1-1) earned the loss after allowing five runs (none earned) on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in four innings.
Along with Opachich, senior catcher Jeremy Gillan went 2-for-3 and Hawkins finished 2-for-4 to round out the Dolphin offense.
Ty Wright led the Eagles at the plate by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Phillip Porter also finished with two doubles and an RBI.
The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Wright pulled an RBI single through the left side with two outs.
The Dolphins took a 4-1 lead in the second when four runs scored on a dropped fly ball by Porter with two outs.
With one out, freshman third baseman Derik Grimes drew a walk and then advanced to second when Hawkins pulled a single to left field. With two outs, Opachich loaded the bases when he beat out a single to short behind the second base bag. Junior left fielder Esterlin Perozo hit a deep fly to right, Porter camped under it at the warning track but the ball popped out of his glove and rolled into the corner. The bases cleared on the play and Perozo beat the throw to the plate to score four runs.
GSU cut the deficit to 5-2 in the fourth when Eric Phillips drove in a run with a high chopper to third base.
The Eagles cut the margin to 5-3 in the fifth when Kevin Bowles, who reached third on a failed pick off attempt, scored from third on a wild pitch.
JU increased the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth when senior right fielder Thomas Myers scored from third on a wild pitch by reliever Michael Hester. Myers reached on a fielder’s choice to second and then advanced to second on a single through the left side by freshman designated hitter Kevin Lehane. After Myers advanced to third on a deep fly to right by junior first baseman Alex Martinez, Myers came home when Hester’s pitch bounced off the plate and over the screen.
The Dolphins pushed the advantage to 8-3 in the sixth when Opachich hit an RBI triple and Perozo drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Hawkins led off the inning with a single to right and then scored on Opachich’s drive into right center. Perozo followed with a high fly to dead center to plate Opachich.
GSU cut the margin to 8-5 in the seventh when Griffin Benedict drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Wright drove in a run with a single to right. The Eagles still threatened with the bases loaded but sophomore Matt Loosen struck out Kyle Blackburn (swinging) and Phillips (looking) in back-to-back at-bats to end the inning.
The Eagles got two more runs in the eighth, to make it 8-7, when Porter hit an RBI double to the right-field corner and a run scored on a fielding error by the Dolphins with two outs.
JU will continue its homestand at Johns Sessions Stadium against Florida A&M on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV.