MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – 11 strikeouts by Casey Kulina, a career best, and homers from Nathan Koslowski and Sam Armstrong led Jacksonville University (12-14) to a split Saturday with West Virginia University (12-9). The Dolphins dropped the first game of the day 8-1 and came back to take the second game 8-2.
Game 2 – West Virginia 8, Jacksonville 1
The Mountaineers took advantage of two-out hits several times, notably in the first and fifth innings. In the first West Virginia had two outs and a runner on first, then garnered a single to right and a double to left that scored two. After one West Virginia led 2-0.
What looked like a routine foul ball leading off the second was caught by the wind, turning into a home run to right field by just a few inches. Starting pitcher Chris Gau limited the damage to that solo dinger, with three groundouts, and after two West Virginia led 3-0.
Both teams were scoreless in the third and fourth, and Jacksonville broke into West Virginia's lead in the fifth. Seth DeWitt singled to third and Dakota Julylia joined the part with a single of his own. Connor Stephens grounded out to the short stop on the next at-bat, but it gave DeWitt more than enough time to score. JU had pulled within two runs, 3-1, in the top of the fifth, and were within a couple pitches of the final out of the bottom of the inning when a solo homer stretched West Virginia's lead to three runs again. After five West Virginia led 4-1.
Consecutive singles with one out put runners on first and third, and a sac bunt gave the Mountaineers another run in the sixth. After six West Virginia led 5-1.
WVU had one final offensive burst in the seventh. A bunt groundout started the inning, but three hits, a hit-by-pitch, and an error allowed three runs to score. After seven West Virginia led 8-1, the final score of the game.
Game 3 – Jacksonville 8, West Virginia 2
Jacksonville responded to the Mountaineers' offensive outburst in Game 2 with a similar showing in Game 3.
Jacksonville again got a free base after the first out in the second inning. Chris Lehane was beaned, then advanced to second on a Ruben Someillan single. In the next at-bat Julylia reached on a fielding error, loading the bases with just one out. That set the stage for Koslowski, who crushed a grand slam into the brick façade past the fence in right field. Dubrule earned his second hit of the game on a single through the pitcher's hand, running the WVU starter after just one and a third innings. Fernandez flew out, but Armstrong stretched the inning with a double down the right field line that put Dubrule on third, and both were scored on a single by Mike Cassala. Jacob Southern got his first RBI in a Dolphin uniform with a single that plated Cassala, and after two JU led 7-0.
West Virginia chipped away at the lead a bit in the third and fourth innings. Consecutive singles with one out in the third turned into a run on a double steal. Two Dolphin errors on the play allowed the runner that stole third to reach home, dropping JU's lead to six runs, 7-1, after three.
A single from the lead-off Mountaineer advanced to second on a balk, and was scored on a first-pitch single to left. After four JU led 7-2, but the efforts of Kulina, Shane Wise, and Mike Cassala held West Virginia to just two hits and no runs the rest of the game.
The Dolphins scored their final run of the game in the seventh on a solo homer by Armstrong that traveled almost as far as Koslowski's grand salami. The right field bomber put the score at 8-1 in JU's first multi-home run game of the year. The score stayed 8-1 through the rest of the game.
Tweetable Fin Facts
- Armstrong and Dubrule each had five hits in three games this weekend, Koslowski and Fernandez each had four, and Julylia, Cassala, and Someillan each had two.
- The Dolphins struck out 31 batters this weekend, including career high strikeout totals from Michael Baumann (12) and Kulina (11).