SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2007
Baseball sweeps ETSU with 8-3 win
May 13, 2007
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - More hot bats and another strong pitching performance, this time from junior Matt Gardner, gave the JU baseball team a clean sweep over East Tennessee State with an 8-3 win, Sunday afternoon at Cardinal Park.
JU (28-24, 13-11), which clinched a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, won its fourth consecutive game, took its second sweep in an A-Sun series (Campbell) and also recorded 14 hits to make a total of 32 for the weekend.
ETSU (26-26, 11-13) dropped its seventh consecutive game, its seventh consecutive home game and its 14th contest in its last 16 games.
"We needed a strong performance this weekend to solidify our position in the A-Sun Tournament and we did just that," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "Hopefully, we are starting to peak at the right time with two weeks left."
Gardner (6-4) got the win after allowing three runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts in eight innings of work. Junior Matt Dobbins came in to close things out in the ninth inning.
Junior shortstop Matt Lopez and senior second baseman Logan James each finished 3-for-4 to lead the Dolphin offense. Senior left fielder Pete Clifford went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Craig Wojciechowski (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on six hits with two walks and a career-high five strikeouts in his first collegiate start. Justin Aughey finished 2-for-3 with a home run to lead the Bucs.
ETSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Michael Courtney hit an RBI single to center.
JU took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth when senior third baseman Thomas LePage scored on a double steal, junior shortstop Matt Lopez scored on an extended play at first and junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira hit an RBI single to left.
With one out, LePage was hit by a pitch and then advanced to third on a single through the left side by Lopez. In the next at-bat, Lopez stole second and LePage stole home on the play to give JU its first run. James beat out a chopper to first and Lopez scored from second on the play when Wojciechowski didn't pay attention after failing to get James at first. James advanced to second during the same action when Wojciechowski tried to get Lopez at the plate. Ferreira followed with an RBI single through the left side to score James.
ETSU cut the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Justin Aughey hit a solo home run over the left-field wall.
The Dolphins increased the lead to 4-2 in the top of the seventh when senior right fielder Mike McCallister hit a sacrifice fly to right. With one out, freshman designated hitter Chuck Opachich drew a walk and then advanced to third on a single through the right side by Clifford. In the next at-bat, McCallister crushed a ball to right center to drive in Opachich.
JU made it 5-2 in the top of the eighth when James hit an RBI triple to center with two outs. LePage led off the inning with a base hit through the right side and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lopez. Junior Adam Rapoza came in to pinch run for Thomas and scored on the next at-bat when James crushed a pitch over the head of Jacob Fabry in center.
The Dolphins made it 8-2 in the top of the ninth when McCallister hit an RBI double, junior third baseman Ben Kerr hit a sacrifice fly to right and Lopez hit an RBI double to right center.
With one out, Clifford laced a double down the left-field line and then scored when McCallister followed with a double to right center. After a single by senior first baseman Ryan McArdle to third, Kerr drove in McCallister with fly to right. Lopez scored McArdle from first with a gapper to right center.
ETSU made it 8-3 in the bottom of the ninth after Michael Courtney hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Dolphins will end the 2007 regular season this weekend at Sessions Stadium against Lipscomb beginning on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The contest can be heard live on WZNZ, AM 1460 with Barry Milligan calling all of the action. The Dolphin Pre-Game Show will air live at 1:45 p.m.