JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball (13-8) swept Fairfield (4-11) with an 11-4 victory on Sunday at John Sessions Stadium.
Another strong performance at the plate fueled a third consecutive win for the Dolphins and a second series sweep of the season.
"Just consistent effort in putting together quality at-bats," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "These guys have been relentless in their work, and we're starting to see some results."
Freshman Austin Temple made his first career start, and had to work through adversity early. The first three Fairfield hitters singled to lead off the game, loading the bases. Temple helped himself out, inducing a 1-2-3 double play to keep a run from scoring and get the first two outs. After a walk, a flyout to center ended the opening frame with the bases loaded.
"I thought he kept his composure and made a big play in a big spot and made big pitches in big spots for the first four innings," said Hayes.
JU responded by scoring first for the third straight game. Cory Garrastazu, starting in centerfield and leading off for the first time in his Jacksonville career, singled to start the game, the first of his three hits. Chris Lehane followed by bouncing into a fielder's choice, before Scott Dubrule reached on an error. JU made the Stags pay for the mistake when Angel Camacho banged an RBI double to right center, part of a three-hit day and seven-hit weekend for the Preseason All-ASUN selection. Jacob Southern drove in two more with a single and JU led 3-0 after one and never looked back.
"My role is to help these guys win, which is why I'm always ready," said Garrastazu. "We have a lot of depth. Whether I'm on the bench or hitting leadoff, like today, I'm ready to help the team out."
Scott Dubrule drove in Duncan Hunter with a single to left center in the second, and JU led 4-0 until Fairfield finally got on the board in the fifth. Facing new pitcher Nathan Disch, the Stags loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. Disch then walked in a run before a fielder's choice brought in a second, and a hit batsman filled the bags again and ended Disch's afternoon. Andrew Ciocia (1-0) needed just one pitch to induce a groundout to end the inning, part of 2.1 scoreless relief for the senior RHP, who earned his first win of the year.
"He wasn't sharp, but he competed well," said Hayes. "That's why he's one of our captains. We rely on him to pound the zone and he relies on his defense."
JU ended any thoughts of a comeback when it stretched the lead from 4-2 to 6-2 in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a two-out rally. John Cassala pinch-hit a double and after two more Dolphins walked, scored as part of a two-RBI single to left from Connor Stephens. The Dolphins blew it open in the seventh, when Camacho doubled to lead off the inning and Cassala drove him in before Sam Armstrong homered to deep center, his second of the year, and it was 9-2 after seven.
The Stags managed two in the eighth before JU answered with two more in the bottom on a Scott Dubrule RBI triple and Camacho driving him in one batter later. Camacho finished the weekend 7-14, with three doubles, a triple and six runs batted in. Armstrong also had a great weekend at the dish, knocking out six hits in 12 at-bats, scoring four runs and his two-run blast.
Jacksonville heads on the road to face #2 Florida on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
"We go to Gainesville to play the defending national champions and then go on the road to play three against a tough Jacksonville State team, so it will be a really good test for us going into conference play," said Hayes.
Tuesday's game will be available for streaming on the SEC Network + and mixlr.com/judolphins.