WEDNESDAY, MARCH 05, 2008
Baseball earns split with 10-5 win over #25 UCF

March 5, 2008

Final Stats

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Sophomore Glenn Witkowski set the tone with two scoreless inning of relief and the Dolphins pounded out 10 runs on 12 hits as the JU baseball team earned a split with No. 25 UCF with a 10-5 win, Wednesday evening at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (7-1) scored seven runs in the first four innings, including two runs in the first to increase its streak to eight consecutive games.

UCF (8-1), off to its best start in program history, evened things up with four runs in the top of the third but finished with six errors to increased its total to nine for the series.

"We bounced back from a tough loss last night and learned from our mistakes," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "Our bullpen came through again for us and we continue to find ways to score early. A win against a ranked opponent always bodes well for a young squad."

After UCF scored four runs in the top of the third to even the contest, JU answered with two runs in the bottom of the third, a run in the bottom of the fourth and three runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Witkowski (1-0) earned his first win of the season after allowing no runs on two hits with four strikeouts in two innings of relief. Freshman Matt Loosen, junior Billy Schlee and senior Matt Dobbins combined to allow only one run in the final 4.1 innings.

Caleb Graham (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits with two walks and a strikeout in 2.1 innings. Graham, who is a transfer from Florida State, earned the loss for the Seminoles last season against JU as the Dolphins snapped an 18-game losing streak to FSU with a 5-3 win at John Sessions Stadium.

Junior catcher Brad Simmons led the Dolphins with two RBI after going 2-for-4 from the plate. Senior center fielder Kevin Ferreira, junior right fielder Thomas Myers and Dobbins also finished with multiple hits for the Dolphins.

Tyson Auer led the Knights by going 3-for-5 with an RBI while Josh Siebenaler, Colin Arnold, Ryan Richardson, Eric Kallstrom and Rob Lara also finished with multiple hits.

The game also featured some family feud flavor as Dobbins batted against his younger brother, UCF freshman pitcher Brennan Dobbins, in the bottom of the eighth inning.

JU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when Ferreira scored on a throwing error and Simmons hit an RBI single with two outs. Ferreira led off the inning with a single to center and junior left fielder Kyle Fleming drew a walk, but Ferreira advanced to third on the play when Lara threw an ill-advised throw to second, which rolled into center field. Myers followed with a shallow flyout to right but Richardson's throw was off target at the plate, allowing Ferreira to score and Fleming to move to second. In the next at-bat, Simmons lined a single to left to score Fleming.

The Dolphins made it 4-0 in the bottom of the second when freshman shortstop Jamaal Hawkins hit an RBI ground out and Ferreira knocked an RBI single. Senior shortstop Matt Lopez led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on Dobbins' single to left. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice by sophomore second baseman Chuck Opachich before Hawkins chopped a slow grounder to first to drive in Lopez. Ferreira followed with a single to left field to plate Dobbins.

UCF evened the contest, 4-4, with four runs on four hits in the top of the third inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Witkowski entered the contest and got Siebenaler to ground out to short to end the threat.

The Dolphins answered quickly with two more runs in the bottom of the third to make it a 6-4 contest. With one out, Myers singled to center and then moved to second when junior designated hitter Jeremy Gillan was hit by a pitch. Simmons followed with a single through the right side to score Myers and Lopez put a squeeze bunt up the first base line to score Gillan from third.

JU added another run in the bottom of the fourth when Hawkins scored on a wild pitch. Hawkins led off the inning with a single up the middle, for his first collegiate hit, and then advanced to second on a sacrifice by Ferreira. After moving to third on a ground out to second by Fleming, Hawkins scored easily when Carmine Giardina's pitched bounced short in front of home plate.

The Dolphins made it 10-4 in the bottom of the sixth when Fleming hit an RBI bunt single, Gillan hit an RBI single and Ferreira scored on another Knight error. Hawkins led off the inning with a walk and then stole second. Ferreira advanced him to third with a sacrifice but reached on a fielding error by Giardina on the play. With one out, Gillan laced a single to left to score Hawkins and then Ferreira scored on the play when Arnold's throw from left sailed up the third base line.

The Knights made it 10-5 in the top of the seventh when Siebenaler drove in a run with a ground out to short.

JU will take a day off before returning to Atlantic Sun Conference action against Belmont this weekend at John Sessions Stadium. The three-day series will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The series can be seen live through ASun.TV on JUDolphins.com.