April 4, 2008
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With lightning looming in the distance, junior Dan Maier's first and only at-bat ended a four-hour contest with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the JU baseball team a 3-2 win over Mercer, Friday night at John Sessions Stadium.
JU (17-11, 9-7), which lost a pair of extra-inning contests to the Bears last season, rallied for a run in the bottom of the seventh and relied on its pitching staff to send things into extra frames.
Mecer (12-18, 8-8), which held the Dolphins without a hit through six innings and only two hits through nine innings, left a game-high 18 runners on base.
In the 13th, senior center fielder Kevin Ferreira led off the inning with a single through the left side and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior designated hitter Kyle Fleming. After back-to-back walks to freshman third baseman Glen Johnson and junior catcher Jeremy Gillan to load the bases, Maier hit the first pitch he saw off the bench through the right side to end the game.
"Our pitching staff carried us tonight," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "Their tremendous effort gave us several opportunities to win this game and we finally did. This was an important game in the series because both of us are trying to fight out of the middle of the pack in the conference."
Freshman Steve Eagerton (1-1) earned the win after hurling 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Freshman Matt Loosen added a season-high 4.1 innings of scoreless relief while striking out a career-best seven batters. Senior Matt Dobbins earned the no-decision after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with six walks and three strikeouts.
Dan April (1-2) was tagged with the loss despite allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings of relief. Justin Boyette also earned a no-decision after allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit with four walks and five strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Boyette held a no-hitter through six innings before allowing his first base hit in the bottom of the seventh.
Ferreira and senior shortstop Matt Lopez each finished with multiple hits for the Dolphins. Matt Crawford and Casey Stuart paced the Bears with multiple hits as well.
Mercer took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Casey Stuart led off the inning with a solo home run to left field.
JU evened the contest in the bottom of the sixth when Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to right. Ferreira was hit by a Boyette pitch to lead of the inning and then stole second base. After being advanced to third on a sacrifice by Fleming, Ferreira came home on a long drive to right by Johnson.
The Bears took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh when Tyler Brown hit a sacrifice fly to left after taking advantage of a failed pick-off attempt by the Dolphins.
The Dolphins evened the contest in the bottom of the seventh when freshman left fielder Chris Connelly executed on a suicide squeeze bunt to first with a runner on third base. With one out, junior right fielder Thomas Myers reached on a fielding error by Michael Langley at second base. Lopez followed with a single to right on a hit-and-run (the first of the night for JU), to advance Myers to third. In the next at-bat, Connelly pushed a high fastball up the line to plate Myers.
Mercer threatened in the top of the eighth with the lead-off man aboard with no outs but Loosen fielded Steve Karwatt's bunt attempt and gunned down the lead runner at second for the first out. With two outs and runners on the corners, Loosen got out the jam by striking out Matt Crawford on a 2-2 pitch.
The Bears threatened once again in the top of the 10th when a Dolphin fielding error led to runners on first and second with two outs but Loosen struck out John Dortch on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Mercer had another chance in the top of the 12th with runners on first and second with one out but Eagerton entered the contest to get Tyler McCarty to pop out to second and Crawford to line out to third to end the inning.
The Dolphins and Bears will complete their series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. The contest will be broadcast live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action. The game can also be seen live on ASun.TV and can be followed on GameTracker on JUDolphins.com.