JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Earning his first win of the season, Casey Kulina threw six innings of shutout baseball Sunday, leading Jacksonville University (11-11) to a 7-1 victory over UCF (17-4) on Salute to Service Day in John Sessions Stadium.
"It all starts with Casey on the mound," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We all know when he takes the mound he's gonna give us every ounce that he has. Our guys love playing behind him, and it was really good seeing Casey play well and the guys play well behind them."
While Kulina held the Knights in check with six strikeouts, the Dolphins got to work quickly. Nathan Koslowski singled past second base on an 0-2 count, then was advanced to second on a bunt from Scott Dubrule. Evan Fernandez got walked, and with two outs Seth DeWitt came up to the plate and smacked a double to right, plating Koslowski and Fernandez. After one JU led 2-0.
Dubrule doubled down the right field line to lead off the third, and was scored on the next batter when Mike Cassala reached on an error by the second baseman. JU led 3-0 after three innings.
JU's most productive inning came in the fifth. With one out Koslowski singled through the right side, and was advanced to second on a Dubrule single. Fernandez earned his second walk of the game with two outs, and then DeWitt again came through with a single to left field that scored Koslowski and Dubrule while Fernandez advanced to third on an error by the left fielder. The final run of the inning came in the next at-bat as Jacob Southern collected his first RBI of the year on a 0-1 single up the middle, scoring Fernandez. After five JU led 6-0.
JU's final run of the game came in the seventh inning on a wild pitch. Chris Lehane was walked to begin the inning, and reached second on Ruben Someillan's hit-by-pitch. Dakota Julylia joined the walk party to load the bases with one out, and all three runners were advanced on a wild pitch, scoring Lehane. After seven innings JU led 7-0.
UCF broke up the shutout in the eighth on two singles, a wild pitch, and an RBI fielder's choice, but the Knights couldn't score again, and JU took the Sunday win 7-1.
"We've been working hard and continuing to push to stack those quality at-bats, and for the most part today we were able to do a pretty good job against a young left-hander for UCF that is going to be really good," concluded Hayes.