SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2007
Gardner's shutout gives Baseball a 5-0 win over Mercer in Game One
March 31, 2007
MACON, Ga. - Junior Matt Gardner hurled a five-hit gem while senior left fielder Pete Clifford and senior catcher Jimmy Potucek provided the sparks at the plate to lead the JU baseball team to a 5-0 win over Mercer in game one of an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader, Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
JU (18-16, 3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak after pounding out five runs on nine hits while registering its first shutout since Dennis Robinson blanked Campbell, 8-0 , on April 16, 2004 in Buies Creek, N.C.
Mercer (19-12, 5-3) managed only five hits in the contest and had runners in scoring position on only two occasions.
Gardner (3-2) scattered five hits with two walks and two strikeouts and posted the second complete game by the Dolphins in consecutive weeks (Justin Young vs. Kennesaw State).
Clifford went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira finished with two hits and an RBI to lead the JU offense. Potucek added his first career home run to give the Dolphins some breathing room in the sixth inning.
"This is exactly the way we needed to bounce back after things not going our way last night," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "Matt Gardner is a gamer and he proved it today with the way he not only held a high-powered offense in check, but also saved our bullpen for the final game. Pete Clifford and Jimmy Potucek also gave us a big lift with some huge home runs."
Boone Webster (5-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 7.2 innings. Josh Thompson had his 19-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-3 with a walk.
With the game scoreless, the Bears threatened to open things up in the bottom of the fourth with runners on first and third with only one out but Gardner got Andrew Einert to fly out to short left and Steven Korwatt to fly out to left to end the inning.
The Dolphins took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Clifford crushed a two-run home run to right center field with two outs.
With one out, senior second baseman Logan James hit a sharp single up the middle but was cut down at second on a fielder's choice by freshman third baseman Chuck Opachich. With two outs, Clifford hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in right center to pick up his fifth homer of the year.
JU pushed the lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth when Potucek hit the first pitch he saw over the right-field wall with two outs.
The Dolphins stretched the lead to 5-0 in the top of the eighth when Ferreira hit an RBI single up the middle and later scored on a fielding error by Billy Shaughnessy at short.