THURSDAY, APRIL 09, 2009
Baseball hammers ETSU, 17-10, in game one
Senior Brad Simmons
Senior Brad Simmons
Senior designated hitter Brad Simmons went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI while sophomore Matt Loosen went six strong innings to lead the JU baseball team to a 17-10 win over ETSU, Thursday evening in game one at Cardinal Park.

JU (21-10, 10-6) scored 17 runs on 12 hits, including a game-high seven runs in the seventh.

ETSU (14-16, 6-10) only managed one run through six innings before scoring five in the seventh, three in the eighth and one in the ninth.

“Our offense came alive today and Matt did a great job,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “I would have liked to get through this game quicker but ETSU did a good job of battling all the way through. Hopefully we didn’t use up all of our runs in one game because we are going to need them for the rest of the series.”

Sophomore Matt Loosen (2-0) got the win after allowing four runs on three hits while walking three and striking out a career-best 10 in 6.1 innings.

Chas Byrne (3-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits while walking one and striking out four in six innings.

Along with Simmons, senior left fielder Kyle Fleming and freshman center fielder Jonathan Murphy each finished with multiple hits and drove in two runs. Junior second baseman Chuck Opachich went 2-for-4 with two doubles to extend his career-best hitting streak to 22 games.

Bo Reeder led the Bucs by going 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI. Paul Hoilman and Cory Betterson also finished with multiple hits for ETSU.

The Dolphins took a 3-0 lead in the third when Opachich and Simmons hit back-to-back RBI doubles and junior first baseman Alex Martinez drove in a run with ground out to short.

Sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson led of the inning with a high chop single to left and then stole second base. Opachich followed with a drive to the left-center wall to plate the game’s first run before Simmons brought Opachich home with a double to the same spot. After Simmons moved to third on a double off the right-field hill by Gillan, Martinez drove in a run with a pulled grounder to short.

The Bucs cut the margin to 3-1 in the fourth when Hoilmann hit a solo homer to right field.

JU increased the lead to 5-1 in the fifth when senior right fielder Thomas Myers and Martinez hit back-to-back sac flies to right. Opachich led off the inning with a double to left center. After Simmons reached on a fielding error by Hoilmann at first and Gillan was intentionally walked, Myers hit a deep fly up the hill in right to plate Opachich. Martinez followed with another deep fly to right to plate Simmons.

The Dolphins increased the lead to 6-1 in the sixth when freshman center fielder Jonathan Murphy scored from third on a fielding error by ETSU third baseman Bo Freeder. With one out, Murphy hit a single back up the middle and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Opachich hit a slow grounder to third which rolled under the glove of a charging Freeder, to allow Murphy to score.

JU opened things up in the seventh by scoring eight runs on three hits to make it 14-1. Simmons led off with a double and then moved to second when Gillan was intentionally walked. With two outs, Hawkins walked to load the bases before senior left fielder Kyle Fleming drove in two runs with a single up the middle. After a walk to Murphy to load the bases, Johnson and Opachich drew back-to-back walks to drive in runs. In the next at-bat, Simmons cleared the bases with a towering shot over the right-center wall for his second homer of the season.

ETSU cut the deficit to 14-6 in the bottom of the seventh when the Bucs scored five runs on three hits, including a two run double by Reeder.

The Dolphins increased the lead to 17-6 in the eighth when Murphy hit a two-run single and Simmons drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk.

The Bucs made it 17-9 in the bottom of the eighth when Reeder hit a three-run homer down the left-field line. ETSU added a run in the ninth when pinch hitter Matthew Scruggs hit an RBI single to short.

JU and ETSU will continue its series on Friday at 7 p.m. The contest can be followed through GameTracker and ETSU Radio Network by logging onto JUDolphins.com.