SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2009
Baseball completes sweep with 14-7 win over USC Upstate in game two
Junior Alex Martinez
Junior Alex Martinez
The Dolphin offense stayed red hot in the second frame and the pitching staff did what it had to do as the JU baseball team completed its sweep over USC Upstate with a 14-7 decision, Saturday in game two of a doubleheader at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (17-8, 8-4) has now won 12 of its last 15 games, including nine of its last 10, after combining for 28 runs and 35 hits in the doubleheader.

USCU (7-17, 2-10) scored seven runs on 13 hits in the second game but ran its losing streak to six.

“This has been a great week for us and we are doing a lot of things well,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We have a couple of days off but we have to get ready for a tough opponent in FIU early next week.”

Junior Glenn Witkowski (3-1) earned the win after allowing six runs (three earned) on eights hits with four strikeouts in five innings. Junior Kyle Kriech allowed one unearned run and struck out two in 1.2 innings of relief. Sophomore Chris Kaminski earned his sixth save after logging a season-best 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Ryan Fern (1-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits with four walks and a strikeout in three innings.

Junior first baseman Alex Martinez led the Dolphin offense by going 3-for-4 with four RBI. Senior left fielder Kyle Fleming also went 3-for-4 with a home run. Senior catcher Brad Simmons, senior designated hitter Jeremy Gillan and freshman third baseman Derik Grimes each finished with multiple hits. Junior second baseman Chuck Opachich tallied a bunt single in the seventh to run his career-best hitting streak to 16 games.

Austin Moyer led the Spartans by going 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBI. Kyle Simpson and Jimmy Tanner also finished with three hits apiece for Upstate.

JU took a 3-0 lead in the first when Gillan hit a two-run double and Martinez hit an RBI single. Opachich reached on a fielding error by second baseman Branden Millhouse to lead things off and then advanced to third on bouncing single through the right side by Simmons. In the next at-bat, Gillan hit a shot into the right-center gap to clear the bases and Martinez followed with a single through the right side to plate another run.

The Dolphins made it 7-0 in the second when Martinez hit a two-run single and Grimes hit a two-run single. With one out, Simmons drew a walk and then advanced to second on an infield single to short by Gillan. After senior right fielder Thomas Myers drew a walk to load the bases, Martinez pulled a ball through the left side to score two runs. After sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs, Grimes hit a drive into left center to plate two more runs.

JU increased the lead to 8-0 in the third when Fleming hit a solo homer to left field. Leading off the inning, Fleming went with a fastball to notch his first home run as a Dolphin.

The Spartans cut the margin to 8-2 in the fourth when Moyer and Keith Bisgounis each hit an RBI single with two outs.

USCU made it 8-6 in the fifth when a run scored on a failed pick off by the Dolphins, Tanner hit an RBI single and Moyer hit a two-run triple.

JU made it 9-6 in the bottom of the fifth when Simmons hit a sacrifice fly to center. With one out, Grimes hit a double to left center and then moved to third after a walk to Fleming and a hit by pitch to Opachich. Simmons followed with a towering shot to center to score Grimes.

The Spartans cut the margin to 9-7 in the seventh when Moyer hit an RBI single through the right side with two outs. USCU still had runners on first and second but Kaminski entered the game and got Jacob Breen to strike out swinging to end the inning.

The Dolphins increased the lead to 13-7 in the bottom of the seventh when Fleming scored on a throwing error to third, Martinez drove in a run with a high chopper to third and sophomore center fielder Chris Connelly hit a two-run double to left center. JU would add another run in the eighth when Simmons pulled an RBI single through the right side.

JU will next take on FIU in a two-game set at John Sessions Stadium beginning on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The contest can be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action. The game can also be seen live on ASun.TV by logging on to JUDophins.com.