Baseball mashes past USF, 12-10
Junior Alex Martinez
Junior Alex Martinez
Junior first baseman Alex Martinez went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a home run in his fourth straight game while sophomore Chris Kaminski notched his seventh save to lead the JU baseball team to a 12-10 win over USF, Tuesday evening in non-conference action at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (20-10) pounded out 12 runs on 13 hits, including three home runs and four doubles, to run its record to 14-5 at home.

USF (19-11) scored five runs in the top of the first but gave up a five spot to the Dolphins in the bottom half of the inning.

“That was a long first inning, that’s for sure,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We had a rough start but we answered right back and took the momentum. We use a lot of different pitchers tonight but we swung the bats well and we got the outs when we needed them.”

Junior Kyle Kriech (3-2) got the win after hurling 2.1 innings of perfect relief. Kaminski entered in the ninth and struck out two batters to push his conference leading save total to seven.

Teddy Kaufman (1-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out one in 1.1 innings.

Along with Martinez, senior right fielder Thomas Myers drove in three runs with a homer while sophomore left fielder Chris Connelly notched his second homer of the year. Senior catcher Jeremy Gillan went 2-for-5 with a double and junior second baseman Chuck Opachich finished 2-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI to extend his career-high hitting streak to 21 games.

Trey Manz led the Bulls by going 2-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. Todd Brazeal and Chris Rey also finished with multiple hits.

The Bulls jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first when USF plated five runs on two hits while taking advantage of three walks and two hit batters.

The Dolphins evened things up, 5-5, by scoring five runs on four hits while taking advantage of a USF throwing error in the bottom of the first. Opachich led off the inning with a double to center and then scored on a single back up the middle by freshman center fielder Jonathan Murphy.

After Murphy reached safely to second on a throwing error by Kaufman, Myers cleared the bases with a home run to right field. In the next at-bat, Martinez hit a shot over the left-center wall for his fourth home run in four games. The back-to-back shots were the first by the Dolphins since Daniel Murphy and Gordie Gronkowski accomplished the feat against ETSU on April 22, 2006.

USF threatened in the second with a runner on third with two outs but Kriech entered the contest and got Manz to strike out swinging to end the inning.

JU took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the second when Martinez hit an RBI single to left field. With one out, Gillan reached second on drop by Mike Consolmagno down the right-field line before Myers walked on four pitches. In the next at-bat, Martinez ripped a ball off the outstretched glove of Rey in left field to plate Gillan.

The Dolphins made it 9-5 in the third when Opachich hit a two-run double and Gillan hit an RBI single. Senior designated hitter Dan Maier led off the inning by reaching second on a dropped fly in center by Ryan Lockwood. After Johnson was hit by a pitch, Opachich cleared the bases with a double to left center. With one out, Gillan hit a sharp single to left to plate Opachich.

JU increased the lead to 10-5 in the bottom of the fourth when Connelly hit a solo shot to left field for his second homer this season.

The Dolphins made it 11-5 in the fifth when Martinez hit an RBI single with two outs. With two outs, Gillan hit a double down the third-base line before Myers drew a walk. In the next at-bat, Martinez hit a ball back up the middle to drive in Gillan.

The Bulls cut the margin to 11-6 in the sixth when Peter Brotons hit an RBI single through the left side.

USF made it 11-9 in the seventh when Manz hit a three run homer to right field. The Bulls cut the margin again to 11-10 in the top of the eighth when Brazeal hit an RBI single down the right-field line with two outs.

The Dolphins added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when sophomore pinch hitter Alex Swenson hit an RBI single to left center. With one out, Connelly hit a double to center and sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins followed with a single to second. In the next at-bat, Swenson dropped a single into left center to score Connelly.

JU will return to conference action at ETSU beginning on Thursday at 7 p.m. All three games of the series can be followed through GameTracker by logging onto JUDolphins.com.