JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Another ranked opponent falls victim to the Dolphins. Jacksonville took down No. 17 Indiana 4-3 on Friday night at Sessions Stadium.
Another solid outing from lefty Josh Baker (Sussex, Wis.) led the Dolphins to their third straight win and second over top 20 ranked opponent this season. Baker picked up his first win of the season after going 6.2 innings allowing three runs on five hits with three strikeouts. Seniors Will Flor (Bloomington, Minn.) and Adam Maxon (Oviedo, Fla.) then helped close the door out of the bullpen allowing just one hit in 2.1 innings.
“Great game on the mound by Baker tonight,” said Head Coach Tim Montez. “They had a chance to get a big inning in the first, but he kept his composure and worked his way out of it. Our bullpen then did a nice job finishing it off. It was great to see Maxon answer back from a rough outing last Friday. Having the week off allowed him to come back crisp tonight and he had his best game of the year. Tonight was a good team win and it now gives us an opportunity to do some more this weekend.”
A 2013 College World Series participant, Indiana (5-6) loaded the bases on just one hit with one away in the first. Baker (1-0) escaped allowing just a single run on a fielder’s choice groundout however which allowed Jacksonville (4-7) to answer back in the bottom half of the inning.
Facing Hoosier ace Joey DeNato with two outs Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) launched a 3-1 pitch over the wall in right. Marabell’s first home run as a Dolphin not only tied the game, but put Baker in position to settle in on the mound.
“Connor’s home run to tie it in the bottom of the inning it gave Baker some confidence and allowed him to attack,” said Montez. “When he is able to attack and get all three pitches working like he did tonight he is going to have a good night.”
Capitalizing on a dropped fly ball by the left field allowed Jacksonville to take a 2-1 lead in the second. With one out in the inning, Seth Dewitt (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.) dropped a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to bring home Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.) from third.
With the Dolphins now leading Baker continued to cruise on the mound. After the opening inning, he allowed just two hits over the next five innings before handing the ball off following a pair of two out singles in the seventh.
The Hoosiers did manage to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. A high fly ball off the bat of projected first round MLB draft pick Kyle Schwarber, just cleared the right field fence and stayed just inside the foul pole. Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.) had the answer for Jacksonville in the bottom half of the inning however. Babb, who is hitting .400 over the last seven games after missing the opening series to injury, continues to swing well as he ripped a two-run double with the bases loaded. Babb’s hit scored Dewitt and Khalil Searcy (Jacksonville, Fla.) and gave the Dolphins a 4-2 lead.
Indiana scratched out a run in the seventh behind three straight two out singles, but would get no more against the upperclassmen in the Dolphins bullpen. Marabell, who had two hits in the game, helped set up a dominate ninth by Maxon as he ended the eighth with a leaping catch at first base to leave the potential tying run at third base for the Hoosiers.
In the ninth against Maxon, Schwarber reached on a one-out error, but no farther damage was down as the senior captain induced a fly ball to left and then snagged a sharp grounder back to the mound to secure his second win of the year.
“This was a great team win, but we can’t afford to get happy,” added Montez. “Indiana is a tough team with some outstanding hitters, we’ve not seen the best from them yet this weekend.
DeNato who was coming off a win at No. 9 Louisville was charged with the loss dropping him to 3-1 on the year.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 2:00 pm. Veteran play-by-play man, Scott Manze will have all the action for you on 92.5 FM.