FORT MYERS, Fla. - The comeback kids did it again! Jacksonville moves on in the Atlantic Sun Tournament after a 7-6 10-inning walkoff win over city rival North Florida in an elimination game on Thursday afternoon at Swanson Stadium. Next up for the Dolphins is 7:00 pm game on Friday where they’ll match-up against the loser of the Florida Gulf Coast - Lipscomb contest scheduled for 8:15 on Thursday.
“This is a good step for this program in the right direction,” said Head Coach Tim Montez who is now 3-1 against North Florida in his first season. “It gives our club a good taste of what postseason is about We’ll come out tomorrow playing one pitch and one game at a time and see what we’re able to do.”
Down 6-4 entering the bottom of the ninth senior catcher Braddock Rowe (Jacksonville, Fla.) tied the game with a one-out single to right. Senior Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.) and junior Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.) each scored on the play after back-to-back single led off the inning.
“I was geared up for the fast ball and got fooled on a slider on the first pitch,” Rowe said on his approach to the game tying at bat. “I knew the second slider was coming so I sat on it and was able to hit one into the gap in right. Give credit to the guys getting on base in front of me and then (Dylan) Dillard getting a bunt down to put me in that situation with runners in scoring position.”
The clutch hit by Rowe set up sophomore Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) for his heroics in the 10th. Marabell gave Jacksonville its second walk off win over the season as he lined a one-out single down the right field line. Junior Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.) came around to score the winning run from second and set off a mob scene around Marabell from the Dolphins dugout.
“I was just looking for a pitch I could drive and help my team win,” said Marabell who went 3-for-5 with a double. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity this season so there was no way we were just going to roll over and give up once we got down 6-1. It’s a good feeling moving on after a win like this. I was especially happy for our seniors to be able to keep the season going.”
The season did appear to be heading to an unfortunate end after the Ospreys plated four in the top of the six to grab a 6-1 lead. All four runs came with two outs, including a three-run home run by Alex Bacon. The Dolphins did not waver however getting three back in the bottom half of the inning to trim the margin back to a 6-4 deficit. Sophomore Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.) launched his third home run of the year with one out in the inning before a clutch two-out, two-run single to left by Amendolare later in the frame accounted for the other two runs.
“All the adversity we’ve been through with the injuries has brought us closer,” aid Rowe. “When we fell behind we were able to stay under control and did a great job as a team.”
After JU starter Justin Russell (Jacksonville, Fla.) was chased in the sixth inning the senior bullpen combo of Zach Gordon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Adam Maxon (Oviedo, Fla.) finished off North Florida. The duo was aided by a third of an inning from Justin Lawerence (Jacksonville, Fla.). Gordon and Maxon combined for four scoreless innings allowing just three hits and one walk. Gordon’s 3.1 innings extend his scoreless streak to 8.1 innings. Maxon picked up the win, his first of the year, closing the door in the top of the 10th after he came on with a runner on and one out.
“The last three to four weeks of the season our guys have handled themselves in a first class manor,” added Montez. “Since day one all I asked from them is to give an honest day’s work, stay together and be good teammates. They have done all three of those and I could not be more proud.”
Freshman Seth Dewitt (Jacksonville, Fla,) added two hits as did Amendolare for the Dolphins who reached double digit hits for the 8th time in the last nine games.
Friday’s game can be heard live on 92.5 FM as Scott Manze will be in the catbird seat bringing you all the action from Fort Myers.
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