JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chris Lehane was again the hero, driving in the go-ahead run to lead Jacksonville University baseball to a 2-1 win and a series sweep over Rhode Island on Sunday at John Sessions Stadium.
"It's never easy to beat a really good team three times in a row," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "This entire weekend was dictated by one or two plays each game, and we're fortunate to be on the good side of things."
Mike Cassala pitched seven strong innings to earn his second win of the season, striking out five along the way while scattering four hits.
Rhode Island scored first for the second day in a row, plating a run in the top of the third. After Cassala had faced the minimum to that point, Laurence Hill blooped a one-out single into right, and advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. He then scored when Kevin Heiss squeezed him in. Cassala bore down after that to get the final two outs and limit the damage to one.
JU tied it up at one in the bottom of the third, when Lehane started off the inning getting hit by a pitch. He was sacrificed to second by Ruben Someillan before Sam Armstrong singled him over to third. Angel Camacho whacked a 2-2 pitch into right to score Lehane, and that was it for scoring until the seventh.
Connor Stephens singled to lead off the inning for the Dolphins, and Franco Guardascione sacrificed him into scoring position. Lehane worked the count full before doubling to right field, scoring Stephens to give JU a lead it would never relinquish.
"I'm just looking for something to hit, not trying to do too much," said Lehane. "The guys in front of me are doing their job getting on base, I'm just happy to be in the right place at the right time.
It was the second straight day that Lehane drove in the game winning run, and he leads the team with nine RBI this season.
"He competes every single pitch and embodies what we do in this program," said Hayes.
Chris Mauloni entered the game with two-outs in the eighth, and allowed a hit before inducing a line-out to short. URI started the ninth with a single, again putting the tying run on and advancing him into scoring position on a wild pitch, but Mauloni struck out the side to earn his fourth save of the year and second in as many days.
Rhode Island finished the weekend 0-24 with RISP on the weekend.
"You can't say enough about what the guys on the mound are doing," said Hayes. "Cassala, setting the tone, Andrew Ciocia coming in and getting two outs and Mauloni slamming the door. It's a special way to finish the weekend."
Next up, Jacksonville travels across town to face North Florida for the first time, in the fourth annual Mayor's Cup. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Harmon Stadium.
"A lot of opportunity this week for some guys that haven't gotten a lot of opportunities to this point in the season," said Hayes.