SATURDAY, MAY 02, 2009
Maier’s pinch hit RBI in the 15th lifts baseball to a 2-1 win over Kennesaw State
In a pitching duel which took two days to complete, the Dolphins got a pinch-hit single from senior Dan Maier to lead the JU baseball team to a 2-1 win over Kennesaw State in 15 innings, Saturday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium.
The contest was continued in the 11th inning after being suspended last night due to severe storms in the area.
JU (29-13, 17-8) pounded out 15 hits and held a 1-0 lead in the ninth before KSU (25-18, 15-6) tied things up and sent it into extra frames. Both teams left a combined 36 runners on base while both staffs struck out a total of 32 batters.
“This was an unbelievable game,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “I’ve never seen a pitching performance like this on both sides through 15 innings. We always talk about being a “grind it out” team and we showed that in this game.”
With the score tied in the 15th, senior right fielder Thomas Myers laced a double into the right-field corner. In the next at-bat, junior first baseman Alex Martinez dropped down a bunt towards the mound but Owl reliever Kenny Faulk threw high to third, allowing both runners to be safe on the play.
With one out and runners on second an third, Maier entered the game and hit the first pitch into right field to score Myers from third and give the Dolphins the lead for good.
Senior Billy Schlee (2-2) got the win after scattering only two hits and striking out six in five innings of scoreless relief. Senior Joey Wedner and junior Glen Witkowski combined for 3.1 innings of effective relief. Junior Carson Andrew got the no-decision despite scattering only three hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 6.2 shutout innings.
Faulk (6-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing one run on two hits with two strikeouts in two innings. Ryan Rodebaugh struck out nine batters in five innings of scoreless relief. Kyle Heckathorn also got the no-decision after allowing one run on nine hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in eight innings.
Senior second baseman Chuck Opachich has led the Dolphins by going 4-for-7 with an RBI. Junior first baseman Alex Martinez is finished 2-for-6 with a double while senior catcher Jeremy Gillan went 2-for-7 with a double. Sophomore center fielder Chris Connelly also finished with multiple hits.
Jon White led the Owls by going 3-for-6 with three doubles while Ric Bishop finished 2-for-5 with a double.
After five scoreless innings, the Owls threatened in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out but Andrew got Martin Baker to pop to third and Andrew Martin to ground out to short to end the inning.
JU took a 1-0 lead in the seventh when Opachich hit an RBI single to left with two outs. Freshman designated hitter Kevin Lehane led off the inning with a rolling single to third and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior left fielder Kyle Fleming. Connelly drew a walk before Opachich laced a single to left to score the game’s first run with two outs.
The Owls looked to tie the game up in the seventh with a runner on first base and a double down the right-field line by White with one out. Myers collected the ball and got the relay into Opachich outside of first base. In one motion, Opachich turned and fired a strike to Gillan in time to get Clint Roques at the plate. With White still on second with two outs, Wedner entered the game and got Jacob Robbins to fly out to center to end the inning.
KSU evened things up in the ninth when Robbins laced an RBI single to left on a 3-2 pitch with two outs.
The Owls threatened in the 14th with the bases loaded an two outs but Schlee got Jace Whittmer to strike out swinging to end the inning.
The Dolphins and the Owls will look to continue their series with game two after a rain delay. The series finale will now be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be seen live through ASun.TV on JUDolphins.com.