Feb. 22, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior right fielder Thomas Myers went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in his Dolphin debut while sophomore third baseman Tony Bernazard drove in a game-high four runs to lead the JU baseball team to a 20-8 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Friday afternoon in the first day of the JU Invitational at John Sessions Stadium.
JU (1-0) scored 20 runs on 18 hits and platted a runner in six of eight innings to win its sixth consecutive season opener. The Dolphins scored their most runs since a 21-11 win over Detroit at John Sessions Stadium in 1991.
UWM (0-1) scored eight runs on 11 hits were outscored 11-2 in the first four innings of the contest.
"I know our guys have been tired of playing against each other and we were just ready to face someone else for a change," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "This is a heck of a way to start at year with a lot of new faces but we need to come out strong tomorrow because it will be a different day."
Junior Tim Brown (1-0) earned the win after allowing two run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in five innings of work.
Tim Hoy (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing 13 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits with four walks in 3.1 innings.
Junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira, junior left fielder Kyle Fleming, junior catcher Jeremy Gillan, sophomore second baseman Chuck Opachich and Bernazard each finished with multiple hits for the Dolphins. Senior shortstop Matt Lopez and sophomore first baseman Alex Martinez also added a pair of RBI in the contest.
The Dolphins took an early 4-0 lead in the first inning after RBI singles by Myers, Gillan and Martinez and an RBI double by Lopez.
Ferreira led off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle and then moved to second on a single through the left side by Fleming. Myers plated the first run with a single through the left side and Martinez followed with a shot up the middle to score Fleming. With two outs, Lopez laced a ball over the head of center fielder Doug Dekoning to score Gillan.
JU increased the lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the third when Bernazard hit a bases clearing double with two outs. Gillan reached on a throwing error by shortstop Gerhartz to start off the inning and then moved to second on a single to center by Opachich. With two outs, junior designated hitter Dan Maier drew a walk to load the bases before Bernazard hit the first pitch of the at-bat into the left center gap.
UWM cut the deficit to 7-2 in the top of the fourth when Groves led off the inning with a solo home run to left center field before Ben Long hit an RBI double to left center with two outs.
The Dolphins pushed the advantage to 14-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Myers hit a two-run homer to left field, Gillan scored on a throwing error by second baseman Jesse Hart, Maier hit an RBI double down the third base line, Bernazard hit an RBI double in the left field corner and Ferreira hit a two-run single up the middle.
JU made it 15-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Lopez hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Martinez led off the inning with a walk and then stole second base before moving to third on a wild pitch by Zach Hoch. Lopez followed with a drive to right to plate Martinez.
The Panthers made it 15-3 in the top of the sixth when Groves led off the inning with a home run down the right field line.
The Dolphins increased the lead to 18-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Martinez drove in a run after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Opachich followed with a two-run single to center.
UWM made it an 18-4 game in the top of the seventh when Troy Vesling hit an RBI double to left center.
JU added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it 20-4 when freshman left fielder Chris Connelly scored on a wild pitch by Panther reliever Brett Proud and freshman pinch hitter Alex Swenson scored on a double play.
The Panthers put up four runs in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 20-8 after and RBI single by Cole Kraft, a bases loaded RBI walk by Groves and a two-run single by Vesling.
JU will next face Richmond at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the second day of the JU Invitational at John Sessions Stadium. UNC Wilmington and Wisconsin-Milwaukee will open the day at noon.