Baseball drops 6-5 contest to Georgia Southern
Sophomore Jonathan Murphy
Sophomore Jonathan Murphy
What used to be automatic through 15 opportunities this season has now become heartbreak in the last two for the Dolphins as Eric Phillips’ walk-off RBI single in the ninth capped a two-run rally as the JU baseball team fell to Georgia Souther, 6-5, Tuesday evening at J.I. Clements Stadium.

JU (17-17), which dropped its second straight game when leading in the ninth (15-2 overall), did not have the services of junior closer Chris Kaminski due his scheduled start against No. 6 Florida State on Wednesday.

GSU (18-15) rallied from a four-run deficit in the second and a one-run deficit in the ninth to win its fourth straight against the Dolphins on its home field.

“We had our chances throughout the game to put the game out of reach but we could only generate one run after the second inning,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “In order for us to be successful later in the year, we have to put games like these away. With that said, we also need to find away to keep our foot on the accelerator and be consistent on offense.”

Senior Glenn Witkowski (2-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing an unearned run on two hits with a walk in 0.2 innings. Freshman Kentrail Pierce and junior Brian Gilroy combined for 1.2 shutout innings of relief to hold the lead into the ninth. Senior Kyle Kriech got the no-decision after allowing four runs on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.

Chris Beck (1-3) got the win after hurling an inning of scoreless relief. Jacob Hess got the no-decision despite allowing three runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in one inning of work.

Sophomore left fielder Jonathan Murphy led the Dolphins by going 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two stolen bases. Junior catcher also Alex Swenson added multiple hits while junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins finished with a home run and two RBI.

Phillips led the Eagles by going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI while Kevin Bowles and Arthur Owens each tallied multiple hits.

The Dolphins took a 2-0 lead in the first when Murphy led off the game with a solo homer to left and Hawkins hit a sacrifice fly to center after junior right fielder Esterlin Perozo hit a triple to center.

JU increased the advantage to 4-0 in the second when a run scored on a throwing error and Murphy hit an RBI single.

Senior second baseman Chuck Opachich led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on a single through the left side by junior catcher Alex Swenson. In the next at-bat, sophomore third baseman Jimmy Howick laid down a bunt up the first base line and beat out the play but first baseman Kyle Blackburn’s throw to second sailed into left field allowing Opachich to score from third. Murphy followed with a sharp single back up the middle to score Swenson.

The Eagles cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Blackburn and Victor Roache each hit a single up the middle.

GSU made it 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth when Bowles hit an RBI single to left. The Eagles still threatened with a runner on first and third with one out but Kriech got Blackburn to ground into an inning-ending double play to second.

The Eagles evened the score, 4-4, in the bottom of the sixth when Eric Phillips hit a solo homer to left field.

JU retook the lead, 5-4, in the seventh when Hawkins hit a solo home run down the left-field line with two outs.

The Eagles threatened with runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh but Pierce entered and got Bowles to fly out to right and A.J. Wirnsberger to line out to center to end the inning.

GSU had another threat brewing in the eighth with a runner on second with two outs but Gilroy got pinch-hitter Michael Burress to fly out to right to end the inning.

The Dolphins will return to action with another road contest at No. 6 Florida State on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The game can be followed live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action or through Live Stats or GameTracker by logging onto JUDolphins.com.