JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tyler Santana gave up a hit to start the game. He allowed only one more the rest of the night. The sophomore held NJIT scoreless in a career-high eight innings to lead #25 Jacksonville University baseball to a 7-1 win Saturday night at John Sessions Stadium.
The eighth straight win for JU (30-13, 8-3) earned the Dolphins a 10th series win of the season.
"Tyler struggled with a little bit of command early and they did a good job of putting pressure on us," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "He did a really good job of making the pitches tonight when he needed to.
"Our offense gave him an opportunity to work through it."
Santana walked a batter with one out after allowing the single to lead off the game, and a double steal put both men in scoring position. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat, and buoyed the Jacksonville offense.
"Our guys did a really good of responding to the little bit of a jam that Tyler got into in the first inning," said Hayes. "Great job of scoring in the bottom of the first and then continuing to tack on runs."
"Luckily this year I've had lots of run support," said Santana. "It helps a lot, you can just pitch with help behind you and at the plate."
Chris Lehane scored the first run of the night after he walked and came home on Scott Dubrule's RBI single. Two more walks to Angel Camacho and Sam Armstrong loaded the bases for Jacob Southern, who drove in a run with a base hit to make it 2-0.
Santana (8-1) gave up a single to start the second as well, and an error put two men on with no out. A fielder's choice was the first out of the inning, and Dubrule turned a double play by himself to keep the Highlanders off the board again in the second. Santana allowed only three base runners over the next six innings after that, one via a walk and the other two via errors.
"Early on, I didn't really have good command of my pitches," said Santana. "Getting ahead is the biggest thing.
"Once you get ahead 0-1, 0-2, then they don't know what is coming."
The offense kept up its end of the bargain too. John Cassala made it 3-0 in the third when he singled in Camacho. Southern tacked on another in the fifth with a solo shot to left, his team-high seventh of the year. JU added two more in the sixth when Ruben Someillan singled, Lehane doubled him in and Camacho tripled Lehane in. The Dolphins scored their seventh and final run in the seventh without a hit. Southern was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
NJIT scored its lone run of the night in the ninth on a sacrifice fly.
With the victory, it is the fastest that JU reached the 30-win mark in a season since 1995. The Dolphins moved up to the top of the conference leaderboard, tied with Stetson at 8-3.
Jacksonville sends Spencer Stockton to the mound tomorrow to go for the sweep, something that has not been easy against NJIT this year. The Highlanders have a win in each of their ASUN series this season.
"We're excited about Spencer taking the ball tomorrow," said Hayes. "They are going to come out fighting.
"We expect a tough ballgame."
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium. It is Kids Day, everyone under 18 gets in for free, can enjoy a free hot dog and ice cream and run the bases afterward. The game is also airing on ESPN+.