JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chris Gau continued his impressive start with another six innings of scoreless work on Saturday as Jacksonville University (5-1) won 7-2 over Georgia State (3-2) to take the series. Angel Camacho hit the first homer of the year and the first of his career in the third, and Scott Dubrule got three across in the game.
"He's attacking the zone. He's showing fastball command, he can throw the breaking ball in the zone, and he's competing," said Head Coach Chris Hayes on Gau's dominance. "He pitches with confidence, which allows our hitters to get their legs underneath them, put some pressure on, and he does an incredible job of pitching with the lead."
"Everything feels pretty good right now," said Gau. "My mechanics are fluid and I'm throwing strikes, so it's good right now. [Pitching Coach Mark] Guerra has been a big part of it. He really focuses on every pitcher individually and watches every pen. He's really smart too. He really knows his stuff baseball-wise."
While Gau held the Panthers in check, JU started stacking runs on the board in the second inning. Dubrule earned his first RBI on a groundout to shortstop, advancing Franco Guardascione to third and Seth DeWitt across the plate. After two, JU led 1-0.
Camacho put the second run of the day across on his solo homer, and after John Cassala was walked and then advanced twice on wild pitches, DeWitt smacked a single past third base to drive John across. After three, JU led 3-0.
"Camacho is one of the best hitters on our squad," said Hayes. "He's been swinging the bat exceptionally well in batting practice and the preseason, and he's a guy that will consistently make clean contact while hitting in the middle of our lineup. It's the first of many for Angel, and it was really good to see."
"It's a long time coming," said Camacho. "It was a 3-2 count and I was just trying to stay up the middle of the field. I'd pulled a couple of pitches in the at-bat, and I was trying to get something that I could drive opposite field. He left the pitch up and I took a pretty good swing at it, and it just kept going and going."
The Dolphins got another freebie in the bottom of the fourth. Chris Lehane was walked with one out, then advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on an error by the pitcher. On the next pitch the pitcher was called for a balk, putting Lehane across. After four, JU led 4-0.
Neither team scored in the fifth inning, and in his final inning of work Gau had a 1-2-3 inning to keep the Dolphins up 4-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Dubrule collected his second RBI of the day on a double up the middle that drove Alex Seifert across, and Connor Stephens followed suit with an RBI double of his own that got Dubrule home safe. After six innings, JU led 6-0.
Georgia State scored its only two runs of the game on a two-run homer by Payton Mann in the top of the seventh, but Dubrule's final RBI of the game (a fielder's choice that put Sam Armstrong across after his third walk of the day) kept JU out front, 7-2, after seven.
"Scotty just competes," said Hayes. "That's what he does and that's why he's here. He's the guy who understands what his game is, and he doesn't know how to do anything other than compete."
Neither team scored for the rest of the game, though the Panthers did make it interesting in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out. Tyler Santana struck out the final two batters he faced to end the threat, and JU won its fifth straight.