JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball came from behind to win on Wednesday and got a new career record-holder in the process.
#24 JU (31-14) won 4-3 over Bethune-Cookman (18-28) at John Sessions Stadium to get back on the winning track, and freshman RHP Chris Mauloni locked down his 17th save to become the school's new all-time leader.
Neither of those storylines seemed likely early, as Jacksonville's sluggish Sunday performance carried over to the start of the game Wednesday. Bethune-Cookman starter Brady Norris allowed only three hits and no runs through his five innings of work, and the Wildcats struck first on the scoreboard.
"We came a little flat offensively," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We knew this was going to be a tough game, Bethune-Cookman is very talented offensively and their pitcher did a great job of keeping us off-balance."
Back-to-back one out singles in the second were followed by a two out hit-by-pitch to load the bases. A double to left center scored two, and might have plated a third if the pitch that Kyle Corbin took off the knee the at-bat before had not slowed him. BCU lead 2-0 until the sixth, when they managed an insurance run off of Greg Shannahan (1-2), when a runner reached on an error and scored two batters later on a double to left.
Once JU got to the BCU bullpen in the sixth, the bats came alive. The leadoff two men Ruben Someillan and Chris Lehane singled, before being bunted into scoring position. Angel Camacho, the team's leader in RBIs, delivered again with a two-RBI single to bring the Dolphins with one, 3-2.
"Our guys continued to fight, kept competing in at-bats," said Hayes. "This was a gut check win."
In the seventh, JU again put the first two men on. Singles from Jacob Southern and Connor Stephens led to another sacrifice bunt to move them over. Someillan grounded out to short, but the tying run came in to score. Then Lehane put one in play at short, where an error allowed JU to take the lead.
Matt Meyer, Shannahan and Trent Palmer combined for six innings of one-run ball, and Mauloni locked down the ninth after allowing a couple of singles. The nation's saves leader continues to rewrite the record book in his freshman campaign.
"We've been relying on these guys all year," said Hayes. "Meyer came in and shortened the game for us a bit and Shannahan came in and pounded the zone and he's the reason we won the game."
"Ultimately, Mauloni has great stuff, commands the zone and he's comes in out of the pen and our guys have great confidence in what he does."
Jacksonville heads on the road to face ASUN Conference leading Stetson this weekend. First pitch Friday night is at 6:30 p.m. at Melching Field.