Baseball rallies and holds on to defeat Bethune-Cookman, 8-7

March 13, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior first baseman Ryan McArdle went 3-for-3 with a double, a home run and four RBI while the Dolphin bullpen went to work, including a save by junior Matt Davis, as the JU baseball team defeated Bethune-Cookman, 8-7, Tuesday evening at Alexander Brest Field.

The contest, which was originally scheduled to be played in Daytona Beach, was moved up to Jacksonville due to unfinished renovations at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

JU (13-11) has won three in a row and six of its last seven games after rallying from an early 5-0 deficit in the first inning.

BCC (9-19) finished with a game-high 14 hits but five of them came in the first inning.

With the Wildcats trailing 8-6 in the top of the ninth, Chris Brown drove in a run with a single to center field. With one out and runners on first and second, Drew Clark lofted a single to left field but senior left fielder Pete Clifford gunned down Chris Henault at the plate for the second out.

After a walk to pinch hitter Orlando Bacon to load the bases, junior Matt Davis got pinch hitter Spencer Hill to strike out looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Sophomore Josh Burrows (1-0) earned the win after allowing only one run on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief. Sophomore Tim Brown also added two strikeouts in two perfect innings of relief. Davis notched his first save after missing the first 23 games.

"It was good to see Matt back on the mound for us tonight," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "It's nice to see us find the win column in these close games now."

Senior second baseman Logan James tied a career high with three hits in the contest. Senior left fielder Pete Clifford tied a career-high 16 game hitting streak with a double to left center field in his final at-bat.

Francisco Gomez (0-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (three earned) on four his with two walks and a strikeout in three innings. Angel Mercado and Angel Negron each led the BCC offense by going 3-for-5 with an RBI.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the top of the first when Angel Mercado hit an RBI single up the middle, Chris Henault hit a double to left field, Justin Hoyte drove in a run with an RBI bunt single to third, a run scored on a fielding error at short and Jose Ortiz drew an RBI bases-loaded walk.

The Dolphins answered back with four runs in the bottom of the first when senior right fielder Mike McCallister hit a sacrifice fly to right field, a run scored on an error at first by Angel Negron and McArdle hit a two-run homer to left field.

Junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira drew a walk to lead of the inning and then stole second. After a walk and a stolen base by Clifford, McCallister hit a high drive to right to drive in Ferreira. Simmons followed with a sharp grounder to Negro, which went through his legs, to score Clifford from third. In the next at-bat, McArdle cleared the bases with his team-leading fifth home run over the left field wall.

JU took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third when McCallister hit an RBI single and McArdle drove in a run with a double to right field.

Clifford drew a walk to lead off the inning and then stole second before scoring on a single up the middle by McCallister. After McCallister stole second, McArdle dropped a ball down the right field line to clear the bases.

The Dolphins made it 7-5 in the bottom of the fifth when McArdle hit an RBI single through the left side. Clifford led off the inning with a walk and then stole second before McArdle pulled a ball off the glove of a diving Luis Gonzalez at third.

JU pushed the advantage to 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth when freshman third baseman Chuck Opachich hit an RBI single to left with two outs. Junior shortstop Ben Kerr led off the inning with a double down the third-base line and then moved to third on a bunt base hit to third by James. After Kerr was caught in a run down and James advanced to second on the wild pitch, Opachich pulled a ball through the left side.

The Wildcats cut the deficit to 8-6 in the top of the seventh when Angel Negron crushed a solo home to right center to lead off the inning.

JU will open Atlantic Sun Conference play this weekend against Belmont beginning on Friday at 4 p.m. EST at Greer Stadium.