Baseball outlasts Connecticut, 7-6, in 10 innings

March 8, 2006

Box Score

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Senior Gordie Gronkowski drew a bases loaded walk to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the JU baseball team defeated Connecticut, 7-6, Tuesday evening at Jack Russell Stadium. The Dolphins are off to their best start since going 14-3 to start the 1997 season.

Senior RHP James Murdock (1-0) earned the win for JU (13-3) after hurling one inning of hitless relief. Connecticut (5-3) rallied to tie the game with two runs in the top of the ninth but reliever Jason Erickson (0-1) walked in Gronkowski on a 3-1 pitch to end the game.

"I'm proud of how we hung in there a found another way to win," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "We made some mistakes in the field but we stepped up when we needed too and got some good pitching."

Gronkowski finished 3-for-4, while juniors Pete Clifford and Don Vickers and freshman Matt Lopez also added multiple hits to lead the Dolphins to a game-high 17 hits. Senior LHP Donald Brickle, who made his first appearance of the season, earned the no-decision after allowing three runs on eight hits with a strikeout in five innings.

Connecticut took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the top of fifth.

JU answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth when Vickers scored from third on a rundown at second before Murphy and junior Mike McCallister each recorded an RBI single.

The Huskies recaptured the lead, 5-3, with two runs in the top of the sixth.

The Dolphins rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to lead 6-5 after RBI singles by Gronkowski and Lopez and a sacrifice fly by McCallister.

UConn tied the game in the ninth on a sacrifice fly after a pair of errors by the Dolphins put the Huskies in position to score.

The Dolphins rallied for the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Vickers was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and freshman Anthony Bernazard stole second base as a pinch runner. After a walk to junior Logan James, junior Justin Young moved both runners with a sacrifice bunt. After Clifford grounded out to a drawn-in infield and Murphy was intentionally walked, Gronkowski drew a walk on four-consecutive pitches.

The Dolphins return to action tomorrow at 2 p.m. as they face Penn State at Jack Russell Stadium.