FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2009
Another eighth-inning rally gives baseball a 4-3 win over USC Upstate
Freshman Joey Belviso
Freshman Joey Belviso
Senior pinch-hitter Dan Maier’s two-run double and freshman outfielder Joey Belviso’s RBI double gave the Dolphins their second straight eighth-inning rally as the JU baseball team defeated USC Upstate, 4-3, Friday evening at John Sessions Stadium.

The contest was delayed 10 minutes due to inclement weather in the Arlington area.

JU (15-8, 6-4), which rallied for seven runs in the eighth in a win over UCF on Wednesday, trailed 3-1 in eighth before Maier and Belviso hit back-to-back doubles to give the Dolphins their 11th victory in their last 14 games.

USCU (7-15, 2-8) scored a run in the first and two runs in the third to take the early lead but were unable to close things out en route to its fourth straight loss.

“We are finding a way to win ballgames right now and that’s all you can ask for,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We knew we were capable of coming back and we were able to do it for the second straight game. You’d like to try and avoid these situations but getting a win makes the stress a little easier to deal with.”

Senior Joey Wedner (3-0) got the win after hurling an inning of scoreless relief. Sophomore Chris Kaminski notched his fifth save on short rest after hurling a scoreless ninth. Sophomore Matt Loosen got the no-decision after allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Tyler Oliver (0-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 0.2 innings. Matt Branham also got the no-decision after allowing only one run on five hits with six walks and 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings.

Belviso led the Dolphin offense by tallying a season-high three hits while tallying a double and an RBI. Junior second baseman Chuck Opachich tallied a hit in the fifth to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games.

Phillip Morgan led the Spartans by going 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBI. Kyle Simpson also finished with multiple hits for Upstate.

The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the first when Morgan hit an RBI single back up the middle with two outs.

Upstate threatened with runners on first and third with no outs in the second, but Loosen struck out Brian Dempsey swinging before catching a come-backer off the bat of Branden Millhouse to start an inning-ending double-play.

The Spartans made it 3-0 in the third when Morgan hit a two-run homer down the left-field line with two outs.

Upstate had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth but Loosen struck out Jeff Medley swinging and got pinch-hitter Tommy Shovlin to fly out to left to end the inning.

The Dolphins cut the deficit to 3-1 in the seventh when sophomore second baseman Jamaal Hawkins hit an RBI single with two outs. With one out, freshman third baseman Derik Grimes drew a walk and was substituted on base with freshman K.C. Clabough. In the next at-bat, Belviso beat out a slow grounder off the mound before Clabough advanced to third on a deep fly to center by Opachich. Hawkins followed with a single to right to put JU on the board.

In the eighth, senior right fielder Thomas Myers drew a walk and then advanced to second on a two-out single to left by senior left fielder Kyle Fleming. Maier cleared the bases with a double to left center and then came home when Belviso hit a flair down the right-field line.

JU and USCU will continue its series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The game can be seen live on ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com and the first game of the day will be available on 1010XK with Barry Milligan calling all of the action.