JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another strong pitching performance. Another night of timely hitting early. Another series win for Jacksonville University baseball.
The Dolphins (12-8) never trailed for a second-straight night, and got a career-long pitching performance from Tyler Santana (3-1) to beat Fairfield (4-10) 5-1 on Saturday night at John Sessions Stadium.
"He has really embraced the starting role and he does exactly what we ask of him: continue to pound the zone, make them put the ball in play and rely on our defense behind him," said Head Coach Chris Hayes.
"I'm just trying to fill up the zone, let my defense work more than anything," said Santana.
Again, JU struck first, pushing across the runs in the first three innings off of Fairfield starter John Signore. Scott Dubrule walked with two outs in the first, and scored on Angel Camacho's double to right center, his fourth RBI of the weekend. In the second, JU made it 2-0 when John Cassala and Cory Garrastazu singled back-to-back before they were sacrificed over by Ruben Someillan, allowing Cassala to score on an infield single by Chris Lehane. Jacob Southern and Sam Armstrong reached to start the third before Garrastazu drove them both in on a single to right, and it was 4-0 JU after three.
"That two-out base hit from Cory was huge for us," said Hayes. "It really gave us a bit of separation and allowed our guys to relax and play the game."
Santana kept the Stags off the board until the fourth, when Jack Gethings led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on Drew Blake's single, took third on a passed ball and came home to score on a wild pitch. That would be it for the Fairfield scoring however, as Santana worked into the eighth, throwing a career-high 7.2 before allowing two men to reach in the eighth and giving way to Trent Palmer.
"We have a really good team, and when we come together and play to our potential, we're going to be really good," said Santana.
The freshman entered the game with the tying run on deck and gave up an infield single to load the bases before striking out Blake to leave them juiced. He worked the ninth as well, allowing just one hit to register his first career save.
Jacksonville added an insurance run in the sixth on Cassala's first career home run.
JU has won every series it has played at home this season, and can earn its second sweep of the year tomorrow. Freshman RHP Austin Temple starts for the first time for the Dolphins.
"We're excited for him. We're going to let him ride as long as he's effective and we feel pretty good about what we've got in the bullpen behind him," said Hayes.
First pitch tomorrow is at noon, and it is Kids Day at John Sessions Stadium. Admission for everyone 18 and under is free, and youngsters can also enjoy a free hot dog and ice cream, and activities such as bounce houses and running the bases after the game.