March 1, 2008
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Senior shortstop Matt Lopez came up big for the Dolphins in two straight days while the Dolphin bullpen combined for 7.1 innings of shutout relief to lead the JU baseball team to a 6-5 win over Gardner-Webb in 12 innings, Saturday morning in game one of a doubleheader at Varsity Field.
JU (5-0, 2-0) rallied from a 5-2 deficit and held the Bulldogs without a run for 7.1 innings despite leaving 13 runners on base and committing four errors in the field.
GWU (3-4, 0-2) also left 13 runners on base but committed five errors in the contest.
With the score tied in the top of the 12th inning, junior catcher Brad Simmons drew a walk, stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Adam Bullard. Lopez followed with a single through a drawn-in infield on the right side to put the Dolphins back in the lead.
"This was a gut check game for our guys and we had a lot of people step up for us," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "Gardner-Webb is a tough club at home and we not only rallied to tie it, but shut them down until we could find a way to win."
Freshman Matt Loosen (1-0) earned the win after allowing no runs on one hit one walk and four strikeouts in 2.2 innings of relief. Junior Billy Schlee notched his third save and second of the series after recording scoreless 12th.
Freshman Steve Eagerton also hurled 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to help extend the contest. Senior Matt Dobbins got a no-decision after allowing fived runs (four earned) on eight hits with a walk in 4.2 innings of work.
Bullard (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings. Webster Beal also got a no-decision after allowing two runs (one earned) on three with two walks and seven strikeouts in six innings of work.
Sophomore first baseman Alex Martinez led the Dolphins by going 2-for-5 with two RBI, including a two-run base hit to tie the contest in the seventh. Senior center fielder Kevin Ferreira and sophomore third baseman Tony Bernazard also finished with multiple hits for the Dolphins.
Matt Rizzuto finished 3-for-6 to lead the Bulldog offense while Daniel Cooke drove in a team-high two runs with a home run in the fifth.
JU took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Ferreira scored from third on a fielding error with two outs. Ferreira reached on a dropped pop in the infield by Beal and then moved to second when Fleming drew a walk. After both runners advanced on a ground out to first, Martinez hit a chopper to third which was mishandled by Chase Bubley, allowing Ferreira to score.
GWU evened the score at 1-1 when Spake hit a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line for a solo home run.
The Dolphins took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth when Ferreira scored on Bubley's second error of the contest. With one out, Ferreira drew a walk and then advanced to third on a single up the middle by Fleming. In the next at-bat, junior right fielder Thomas Myers hit a slow roller to third and Bubley bobbled the ball, allowing Ferreira to score.
The Bulldogs took their first lead off the series, 5-2, after scoring four runs on five hits while taking advantage of two Dolphin errors. The big blow of the inning was a two-run homer to left field with two outs.
JU evened the contest at 5-5 in the top of the seventh when junior catcher Jeremy Gillan drove in a run with a grounder to third and Martinez hit a two-run single with two outs. Bernazard led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second when Ferreira beat out a single at third. A positioning mishap allowed junior left fielder Kyle Fleming to load the bases on a sacrifice bunt before Bernazard scored on a slow chopper to third by Gillan. Martinez followed with a single up the middle on a 1-1 count to tie the game.
The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second with one out but Loosen got a fly out to left by Josh Drewery and Simmons gunned down Matt Rizzuto at third to end the inning.
JU and GWU will wrap up its series with game two at 4 p.m. The game may be completed on Sunday due to no lights being at Varsity Field.