FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2007
Baseball moves on with 4-0 win over No. 5 Gardner-Webb
May 25, 2007
DELAND, Fla. - Photo Gallery - www.atlanticsun.org
The Dolphins kept things rolling behind the stellar pitching of freshman Carson Andrew and junior Tim Brown as the JU baseball team defeated No. 5 Gardner-Webb, 4-0, Friday afternoon in the third day of the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship presented by Progress Energy at Melching Field.
JU (32-26) advanced to the final day of the tournament and will need to win two more games to claim the championship. The Dolphins scored two of its runs on Bulldog wild pitches but the JU pitching staff has combined to allow only one run in is last 19 innings.
Gardner-Webb (26-32) managed only three hits on the afternoon and was eliminated from the tournament after leaving six runners on base, including runners in scoring position on two occasions.
"We have a lot of depth in our pitching staff and it has really been an advantage for us in this tournament," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "We took care of business today behind outstanding efforts by Carson and Tim and now we need to carry this momentum into a long final day."
Andrew (3-2) got the win after allowing no runs on only three hits with four walks and five strikeouts in a career-high seven innings of work. The Episcopal High School product has now hurled 12 scoreless innings and has lowered his ERA from 4.84 to 3.61 in his last two starts.
"Carson has really started to blossom towards the end of the season and the ball is really jumping out of his hand right now. His performance not only got us the win but saved our bullpen for tomorrow."
Brown picked up his second save of the season after throwing two innings of perfect relief to end the contest. He entered the game with a runner on first and no one out in the top of the eighth and retired six consecutive batters.
Freshman designated hitter Chuck Opachich and sophomore catcher Brad Simmons each finished with multiple hits to lead the Dolphin offense. Simmons, who ripped a double to right in the fifth inning, recorded the only extra-base hit in the contest.
Josh Drewery (4-6) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Jay McConnell, Daniel Cook and Jon Ahearn recorded the only hits for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the first with runners on second and third and two outs but Andrew got Jeremiah Lokken to strike out swinging to end the inning.
GWU looked poised to score again in the bottom of the second with runners on first and second with out but Andrew got Tyler Johnson to ground into an inning-ending double-play.
The Dolphins took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third after an RBI single to right by Opachich and a run scoring wild pitch.
Junior center fielder Kevin Ferreira led off the inning with a single through the left side and then advanced to third after a single to center by senior second baseman Logan James. In the next at-bat Opachich dropped in a single to right to put the Dolphins on the board. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by senior right fielder Mike McCallister, Drewery's 1-2 pitch bounced low and rolled to the backstop to score James.
JU took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Ferreira scored from third on a wild pitch by Drewery. With two outs, Ferreira hit a single up the middle and then moved to second after a walk to James. Opachich followed with a hard single off the chest of third baseman Justin Loyd to load the bases before a Drewery fastball went straight to the backstop to score Ferreira.
The Bulldogs threatened again with runners on second and third with two outs but Andrew got Jon Ahearn to ground out to third to end the inning.
The Dolphins took a 4-0 lead in the top of the ninth when senior first baseman Ryan McArdle hit an RBI single with two outs.
Opachich led off the inning with a walk before moving to second on a bunt single to second by McCallister. After a double-play moved Opachich to third, McArdle pulled a 2-2 pitch through the left side to add the insurance run.
The Dolphins will face the winner of No. 1 Stetson/No. 3 Belmont on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a spot in the championship game. The contest will be broadcast live on WZNZ, AM 1460 with Barry Milligan calling all of the action. The Dolphin Pre-Game Show will begin at 12:45 p.m.
No. 2 Mercer was also eliminated from the tournament after falling to the Hatters, 2-1, in 12 innings to start the day off.