JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A season high seven-inning, seven strikeout performance for Chris Gau led Jacksonville to a 6-0 win over Rhode Island on Friday at John Sessions Stadium.
"It was a really clean game for us overall," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "It all starts on the mound. Gau was exceptional tonight and gave our offense an opportunity to get our legs underneath us."
Gau's season-best performance set the tone for JU in its first shutout win of the season. Rhode Island put men on in the last five innings against him, including having runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Gau bore down when it mattered most, holding the Rams to 0-4 in RISP situations.
"He did a really good job of controlling his temperament and his emotions," said Hayes. "He located and attacked the zone."
The scoring started for the Dolphins in the fourth, when Evan Fernandez drove a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall. The solo-shot was his third long ball of the year. JU added to the 1-0 lead in the fifth, when Duncan Hunter singled into right for his first career hit, and moved to second on a groundout. Sam Armstrong drove him in with a single to center and went to second on the throw home. He then scored on Angel Camacho's RBI double off the wall in right. Two batters later, Jacob Southern picked up his team-high sixth RBI on the year on another single. At the end of it all, JU had scored three more on four hits and chased URI starter Tyler Wilson.
Armstrong, who went 3-4 with a double, scored again to make it 5-0 in the seventh when Scott Dubrule grounded out to second, and Chris Lehane clubbed his first career home run to left in the eighth to put a capper on it.
When asked about the homer, Lehane responded "I've only hit a ball that far in practice, maybe."
Jacksonville returns to action on Saturday with an opportunity to take the series against the Rams. Tyler Santana is scheduled to go for JU, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. The game is also Beach Day, and the first 200 fans receive a pair of JU sunglasses. Regular Saturday promotions are also in effect, such as Meal Deal (beer and hot dog for $4) and veterans receive 10 percent off concessions.
If you cannot make it out, tune in on mixlr.com/judolphins.