KENNESAW, Ga. – Jacksonville University (25-17, 10-2 ASUN) continued its impressive ASUN Conference play Saturday with a series win, 7-5, in the first game of a doubleheader, but the Owls got the last laugh of the day, ending the Dolphins' 13-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory in the finale.
"Ultimately for us to come up to Kennesaw and take the first two games of the series was a huge accomplishment for this squad," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We played extremely competitive baseball all three games. I wish we could've finished it today, but I'm very pleased that we're headed home with a series win against a very good opponent."
Game 2 – Jacksonville 7, Kennesaw State 5
Casey Kulina pitched a jewel in Game 1 of the doubleheader, working around eight hits with three strikeouts and no earned runs. He pitched a shutout through four and two-thirds, though Kennesaw put four across unearned on the final out in the fifth. The senior southpaw got the final out of the fifth on a grounder, and pitched two more scoreless innings to secure the Dolphin win.
Sam Armstrong got the first of his three hits on the day in the second inning on a homer that rocketed off the office windows about 20 feet behind the left field fence. His solo dinger gave JU a 1-0 lead after two innings.
As they have done in every game in the winning streak, JU found offense when it needed it most. Nathan Koslowski worked his way to a 3-2 count, then homered over the right field fence to lead off the sixth. Scott Dubrule singled, Angel Camacho doubled Dubrule over, and Armstrong got his final hit of the game, scoring both. The Dolphins would take the lead for good on a sac fly by Mike Cassala. After six JU held a 5-4 lead.
Camacho got a one-out single in the eighth, then advanced to third on a passed ball with Seth DeWitt at the plate. DeWitt was walked, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch with Cassala at the plate. On a 3-1 count a wild pitch walked Cassala and put Camacho across safely, and JU took a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. A Dolphin error, a single, and an RBI grounder allowed Kennesaw to plate one run, and after eight innings JU held a 6-5 lead.
An Owl error to start the ninth allowed Ruben Someillan to reach safely, and the freshman scored on a grounder from Koslowski. The final: JU 7, Kennesaw 5
Game 3 – Kennesaw State 6, Jacksonville 1
Andrew Ciocia threw a nearly perfect game in the longest outing of his career after he relieved Chris Gau in the third inning, but Kennesaw had just enough to end the Dolphins' 13-game streak. The Owls' starter Mason Ward pitched a complete game, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out seven. The only run he allowed was Camacho's solo homer to left field that rebounded off of the same office building Armstrong hit in the first game.
The Owls scored three in the first inning, one in the second, and two in the third, but were held scoreless the rest of the way as Ciocia allowed just one hit in five and a third innings.
"I was really happy for Andrew. He's earned the opportunity. He's always prepared and ready when his name is called, and it just goes to show that it's not always about how hard you throw. It's also about changing speeds and putting the ball in a good location. He had those guys off-balance the entire time," said Hayes.
Tweetable Fin Facts
- The last time the Dolphins won 13 games in a row was in 1991. That season the Dolphins went on to appear in the NCAA Regionals.
- This is only the fifth time in program history that a team has won at least 13 games.
- Camacho has hit in 14 straight games, and has reached a base in 16 straight. Lehane had a 15-game reached base streak until the final game of the doubleheader.
- Gau (1), Camacho (5), Koslowski (3), and Armstrong (4) all homered in the series. Each of the yard bombs was a solo shot.