FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007
Young's gem leads baseball to 5-1 win over Kennesaw State
March 23, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior Justin Young notched his first complete-game victory after hurling a one-run gem and senior Donnie Vickers hit his first home run of the season to lead the JU baseball team to a 5-1 win over Kennesaw State, Friday evening at Alexander Brest Field.
JU (17-13, 2-2) pushed its winning streak to three games after scoring all five runs in the first four innings and getting its first complete game from a starter in 2007.
Kennesaw State (14-9, 0-1) dropped its fourth consecutive game to the Dolphins and had its two-game winning streak snapped.
"This was a good win for us," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "We need to continue play well this weekend to keep the momentum going from Wednesday and get ourselves back into the thick of things in the conference."
Senior Justin Young (3-3) earned the win after allowing only one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He also had a no-hitter going through four innings before Jerome Wolley laced a single up the middle with one out in the fifth. It marked the first complete game for a JU pitcher and the first Dolphins to throw a complete-game win since Matt Dobbins on May 18, 2006 at Lipscomb.
"Justin pitched a terrific game for us tonight and not only did he get his first complete game but he saved our bullpen for a big doubleheader tomorrow. That is going to be a big advantage for us."
Freshman third baseman Chuck Opachich led the Dolphins with two hits while Vickers drove in two runs. Senior Mike McCallister extended his hitting streak to 10 games after recording a single in the fourth inning.
Chad Jenkins (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Jace Whitmer led the Owls' offense with an RBI double in the sixth.
The Dolphins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third when senior catcher Donnie Vickers hit a solo home run to left and senior left fielder Pete Clifford hit an RBI single to center.
Vickers led off the inning with his first home run of the season on a 2-2 pitch. With one out, junior shortstop Matt Gardner hit a single up the middle and moved to second on a single by Opachich to left field with two outs. Clifford followed with a sharp single to center to score Gardner but Opachich was gunned down at third to end the inning.
JU pushed the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Vickers hit a sacrifice fly to center and junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira and Opachich each drove in runs with bases loaded walks.
McCallister led off the inning with a single up the middle and then stole second base. McCallister was nearly thrown out at second on a routine grounder back to Jenkins but his throw was high, allowing senior first baseman Ryan McArdle to be safe on a fielder's choice.
In the next at-bat, senior first baseman Thomas LePage attempted a sacrifice bunt to move the runners but everyone was safe when Jenkins fielded the ball but his throw to third went over the head of third baseman Matt Dallas. Vickers followed with a high fly ball to center to plate McCallister before senior second baseman Logan James drew a walk to re-load the bases. With two outs, Ferreira and Opachich each drew walks to drive in runs.
KSU got on the board with a run in the top of the sixth (5-1) after an RBI double down the left-field line by Whitmer on a 1-2 pitch and two out.
JU will continue its Atlantic Sun Conference series against Kennesaw State on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Both contests will be hear live on WZNZ, ESPN 1460 with Joel Lamp calling all of the action in the first game and Joe Block filling in for the nightcap. The Dolphins Pre-Game Show will air 15 minutes prior to the first game.