FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2009
Baseball defeats Florida Gulf Coast, 3-2, in series opener
It was a team effort for the Dolphins, but a career outing by sophomore Matt Loosen set the tone as the JU baseball team defeated first-place Florida Gulf Coast, 3-2, Friday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Swanson Stadium.
JU (11-7, 4-3) had its streak with at least 10 hits snapped at eight games but the Dolphins earned their first victory over the Eagles by finishing with a game-high eight hits.
FGCU (12-7, 6-1) suffered its first conference loss after being held to only six hits while going scoreless through the first six innings.
The Dolphins got the early lead on a solo home run by junior center fielder Esterlin Perozo in the third and senior left fielder Kyle Fleming added insurance with a two-run single in the eighth.
The Eagles touched up Loosen in the eighth but sophomore Chris Kaminski closed out the final 1.2 innings to seal it.
“We got an incredible performance by Matt going against the top team in the conference on their home field,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We got big hits from Esterlin and Kyle to give us just enough runs and Chris came in and shut the door. It was a great overall effort by everyone and we need to bring this same effort tomorrow.”
Loosen (1-0) got the win after allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in a career-high 7.1 innings. Kaminski struck out two in 1.2 innings to notch his fourth save of the year.
Pete Woodworth (0-1) was tagged with the loss despite allowing only two runs (one earned) on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts in four innings.
Perozo led the Dolphin offense by going 2-for-4 with two runs and a home run. Junior second baseman Chuck Opachich also finished with multiple hits while Fleming led the squad with two RBI.
Steven Wickens led the Eagles by going 2-for-4 while Mikel Alvarez tallied a team-high two RBI.
The Eagles threatened in the first with runners on second and third with two outs but Loosen got Brad Roberts to strike out swinging to end the inning.
JU took a 1-0 lead in the third when Perozo hit a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall to lead off the inning. For Perozo, it was his first home run of the season.
FGCU threatened again in the fifth with runners on the corners and one out but Loosen got Wickens to ground into an inning-ending double-play to third.
The Dolphins increased the lead to 3-0 in the seventh when Fleming hit a two-run single with the bases loaded. With one out, freshman third baseman Derik Grimes hit a single through the right side and then advanced to second when Tim Roberson could not handle a grounder to third by Perozo. After Opachich hit a single through the right side to load the bases, Fleming hit a pitch back up the middle to plate some insurance runs.
The Eagles rallied for two runs in the eighth to make it 3-2 when Alvarez hit a two-run single through the left side with two outs.
JU will continue its series at Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday at 7 p.m. The contest can be followed live on ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com.