SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2009
Baseball rallies for 7-2 win over Florida Gulf Coast to take series
Senior Thomas Myers
Senior Thomas Myers
Sophomore Matt Tomshaw hurled a gem in his second start and the Dolphins rallied for seven unanswered runs as the JU baseball team took the series over Florida Gulf Coast with a 7-2 win, Saturday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference action at Swanson Stadium.

JU (12-7, 5-3) trailed 1-0 through four innings but scored two runs in the fifth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth to assure the series win.

FGCU (12-8, 6-2) was held to only two runs for the second consecutive game after leaving a game-high 13 runners on base.

“We got another great performance from our starting pitcher which has been the major key to winning this series,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Matt was outstanding tonight and our offense came alive once we got to the fifth inning. This is the type of baseball we want to bring to the park on a daily basis and we are going to need it again tomorrow to finish off the weekend.”

Tomshaw (2-0) won his second consecutive start this season after allowing only one unearned run on eight hits while walking only one batter and striking out seven in 6.1 innings. Senior Joey Wedner allowed only one run in 1.2 innings of solid relief and sophomore Sean Green hurled a scoreless ninth to end it.

Chris Sale (2-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out 10 in 6.1 innings.

Senior right fielder Thomas Myers led the Dolphin offense by going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Senior catcher Jeremy Gillan also finished 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Josh Upchurch led the Eagles by going 4-for-5 with a triple. Stephen Wickens and Zach Maxwell each finished with multiple hits to also add to the offensive output for FGCU.

The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the second when Tim Roberson scored from second on a fielding error by the Dolphins with two outs. FGCU still threatened with runners on first and third but Tomshaw struck out Joe Guarnaccia swinging to end the inning.

FGCU threatened again in the third with runners on second and third and no outs but Tomshaw got Roberson to line out to short, Mikel Alvarez to ground out the third and Brad Roberts to line out to second to end the inning unscathed.

The Dolphins took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Gillan and Myers each recorded RBI singles with two outs.

Freshman third baseman Derik Grimes led off the inning with a single up the middle. With one out, junior second baseman Chuck Opachich hit a ball to third but Roberson’s throw to second ended up in right field, allowing both runners to reach safely. After a fielder’s choice to first by junior left fielder Esterlin Perozo, Gillan pulled a ball to left to drive in Grimes from third. In the next at-bat, Myers pushed a ball through the right side to score Perozo after he knocked the ball loose on a collision with catcher Robert Greene.

FGCU threatened in the bottom of the fifth with a runner on third and two outs but Tomshaw snared a comebacker off the bat of Roberson and flipped to first to end the inning.

The Eagles had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth but Tomshaw got Greene to fly out to left and Josh Chester to force out to second to end the inning.

JU increased the lead to 5-1 in the seventh when Myers hit a three-run homer. With one out, senior left fielder Kyle Fleming was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a single up the middle by Gillan. In the next at-bat, Myers crushed a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall for his team-leading fifth homer of the season.

FGCU put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh but Wedner entered the game and got Roberson to pop to first and Alvarez to ground out to first to end the inning.

The Dolphins made it 7-1 in the eighth when Opachich hit an RBI single and Gillan drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Grimes was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then advanced to second on a groundout to third by freshman center fielder Joey Belviso. In the next at-bat, Opachich dropped a single into center and then advanced to second on the throw home. After Opachich advanced on a fielding error by Wickens at short, Gillan hit a deep drive to left field to score another run.

The Eagles made it 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth when Chester hit an RBI triple to right center. FGCU still had runners on first and third with two outs but Wedner got Wickens to pop to first to end the inning.

JU will conclude its series at Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday at 1 p.m. The contest can be followed live on ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com.