SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2009
Baseball takes A-Sun Championship with 7-4 win over No. 2 Lipscomb
Junior first baseman Alex Martinez
Junior first baseman Alex Martinez
Junior first baseman Alex Martinez hit a two-run homer in the ninth and sophomore Matt Loosen got the win as the JU baseball team defeated No. 2 Lipscomb, 7-4, Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Melching Field.

The contest was continued in the top of the second after the contest was suspended on Saturday night due to rain and lightning.

JU (36-20) earns its second A-Sun Tournament Championship in three years while also advancing to its 13th NCAA Regional, including three in the last four seasons.

Martinez was named tournament MVP while senior outfielders Thomas Myers and Kyle Fleming, senior catcher Jeremy Gillan, senior pitcher Billy Schlee and junior second baseman Chuck Opachich were named to the all-tournament team.

“This is very special right now,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “It’s been a very long year for us and this has made it all worth while. It was a long week for everyone but we found a way to make a play when we needed to. We’ll find out where we end up tomorrow but for now, we are going to enjoy today.”

Lipscomb (24-32) rallied for three runs in the sixth to take a 4-3 advantage. The Dolphins got a solo homer from Myers in the seventh to tie things up before Martinez’s blast put them up for good.

Loosen (4-1) got the win after hurling 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Junior Carson Andrew got the no-decision after allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in five innings.

Matt Bowling (2-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing three rusn on one hit with three walks in 1.1 innings of relief. Josh Smith also got the no-decision after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits with six walks and six strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

Myers finished 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI while Martinez finished 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.

The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the first when Allen Bolden hit an RBI double.

The Dolphins evened the contest, 1-1, in the fourth when sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins hit an RBI ground out.

Myers led off the inning with a single through the right side and then moved to second when Martinez drew a walk. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore catcher Alex Swenson, Hawkins hit a slow roller to third to drive in Myers.

JU took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when senior catcher Jeremy Gillan hit a sacrifice fly to right.

Sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson drew a walk to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a single to left center by senior left fielder Kyle Fleming. In the next at-bat, Gillan hit a deep fly to right to plate Johnson.

The Dolphins made it 3-1 in the sixth when junior second baseman Chuck Opachich hit an RBI single with two outs.

Martinez was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then moved to second on a grounder to first by Swenson. After Hawkins drew a walk, sophomore center fielder Chris Connelly reached safely when Antonio Butler dropped a fly down the right field line. With two outs, Opachich pulled a ball through the left side to drive in Martinez.

The Bisons took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Justin Sanders hit a solo homer to left, Tyler Wilson hit an RBI fielder’s choice to second and a run scored on a catcher’s interference.

JU evened the contest, 4-4, in the seventh when Myers hit a solo homer. With one out, Myers crushed a pitch over the left field scoreboard for his team-leading 12th round tripper of the season.

The Dolphins took a 7-4 advantage in the ninth when Martinez hit a two-run homer and Opachich drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch.

With one out, Myers drew a walk before Martinez crushed a towering shot into left on the first pitch he saw. With the bases loaded, Opachich was hit by a pitch to add an insurance run.

JU will await the NCAA Tournament Selection show on Monday at noon. The location of the viewing party will be announced on Monday morning.