Baseball sweeps Campbell in doubleheader
Junior Chuck Opachich
Junior Chuck Opachich
A miracle and a milestone were the best words to describe the Dolphins performance as the JU baseball team took its series over Campbell with a double-header sweep, 7-6 &10-5, Saturday afternoon at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (25-12, 14-7), which won its fifth conference series of the season, rallied from a 6-1 deficit in game one before hammering out 10 runs on 14 hits in game two.

CU (19-17, 5-12), which stole a game from JU in the opener, had its heart ripped out in game one after allowing seven consecutive hits to the Dolphins with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

“This was the focus and determination we were looking for after last night,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “Although we didn’t play all that well in game one, we found a way to win in a very special way. I have never seen anything like that before with two outs.

“We wanted to get on them early in game two and we accomplished that. This was a must series for us and now we have a very tough week ahead of us.”

Junior second baseman Chuck Opachich had a flair for the dramatic in game one as he attempted to tie Talmadge Nunnari (1997) with a 27-game hitting streak. After going 0-for-4 through eight innings, his day looked done until the Dolphins came up with four straight hits with two outs to give him another chance.

With the count 1-2, Opachich popped up a pitch near the third-base foul line. Alex Aycoth got under it halfway between third and home and looked like he would end the game with a routine play. However, the ball popped out of his glove to give Opachich and the Dolphins another chance. On the next pitch, he lined a single to center to tie the program record and continue JU’s rally. Unfortunately, he went 0-for-4 in the night cap to end his hitting streak.

In game one, Campbell built a methodical 4-0 lead by scoring single runs in the first and second innings before plating two more in the fifth.

JU, which was held to only two hits through seven innings, got on the board in the eighth with an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins.

After the Camels added two insurance runs in the ninth to make it 6-1, JU got two quick out to start the bottom of the ninth. From there, the Dolphins got a double to right center by sophomore catcher Alex Swenson, a single to third by freshman center fielder Jonathan Murphy, an RBI single to left by senior left fielder Kyle Fleming, an RBI single to right by senior pinch-hitter Dan Maier, an RBI single to center by Opachich, an RBI single to short by Hawkins and a walk-off two run double to right (past a diving Ryan Hamme) by senior designated hitter Jeremy Gillan to seal the miracle rally.

Junior Carson Andrew (3-3) got the win after allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts in four innings of relief. Sophomore Matt Tomshaw got the no-decision after allowing four runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings.

Hamme (2-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out three in 1.2 innings of relief before moving to right field. Logan Davis got the no-decision despite allowing only on run on two hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in seven innings.

Senior right fielder Thomas Myers went 2-for-3 with a double while Hawkins finished 2-for-5 with two RBI to lead the Dolphins.

Kevin Nelson led the Camels by going 4-for-5 while Brian Gana went 2-for-5 with double and three RBI.

In game two, JU jumped out to a 2-0 lead with runs in the first and second inning. Campbell put up three runs in the third to take a 3-2 advantage but it would be their last lead of the day.

The Dolphins took a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the third when they put up five runs on five hits while taking advantage of a throwing error by Camel shortstop Kevin Nelson.

The Camels would cut the deficit to 7-4 with a run in the fourth but things would cool off for the next two innings until the Dolphins put up three runs on four hits in the seventh to put things out of reach.

Sophomore Sean Green (2-0) got the win after allowing four runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts in six innings. Senior Joey Wedner and junior Kyle Kriech combined for three innings of solid relief.

Daniel Gardo (1-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits with a strikeout in 1.2 inning of relief.

Murphy led the Dolphin offense by going 3-for-3 with an RBI while freshman designated hitter Kevin Lehane went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Hawkins finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI while Gillan and junior first baseman Alex Martinez each finished with multiple hits.

Hamme, Aycoth, Matt Keen and Bryan Broswell each finished with multiple hits to lead the Camels.

The Dolphins will continue its conference home schedule next weekend with a three-game series against Lipscomb. The series will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium. All three games can be seen live through ASun.TV on Saturday and Sunday’s games can be heard live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action.