SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Jacksonville University baseball concluded its best offensive weekend with a 15-3 win over USC Upstate to sweep the series Sunday.
JU (34-17, 11-6) scored 34 runs in the three-game set, taking all three at Harley Park vs. the Spartans (23-27-1, 5-13), the most runs scored by the Dolphins this season in a weekend series, and also JU's first sweep over an ASUN Conference foe this year.
"Right now, the team is doing a good job of being patient, but aggressive in the zone," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "They're getting good pitches to hit and they aren't missing them.
"They're not giving many at-bats away and you could see it today in the output."
JU struck first, plating three in the first inning. Ruben Someillan and Angel Camacho singled while Chris Lehane walked to load the bases, setting the table for Connor Stephens to drive in two. Cory Garrastazu walked to load them up again and Franco Guardascione drove in a run with a third free pass of the inning.
USC Upstate got one back in the bottom half, when they picked up three singles off Tyler Santana (9-1).
Sam Armstrong walked to start the third, and Garrastazu doubled him to third with one out. Guardascione scored them both on a single, his fourth multi-RBI game of the season, to make it 5-1.
The Spartans managed one again in the bottom half of the inning, when a leadoff single came around to score.
The Jacksonville offense kept the pressure on USC Upstate, extending the lead to five with a two-run top of the fourth. Scott Dubrule singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Armstrong. Camacho walked and crossed home when Stephens singled for his third RBI of the game.
USC Upstate got its final run of the game when a one-out double advanced to third and scored on a wild pitch.
Another two-run top of the fifth made it 9-3 JU. Guardascione was hit by pitch to start, one of ten times he reached base in the series. Duncan Hunter then singled before Someillan banged a double off the wall in right. Guardascione was thrown out at home on the play, but Lehane scored two one batter later on a single to center.
The Dolphins added one in the seventh, when Hunter walked to lead off the frame, followed by a Someillan single and Lehane's 14th sacrifice hit of the year, tied for the JU single season record, moved them into scoring position. Dubrule scored Hunter on a groundout to second.
JU wrapped the scoring in the eight, with five more runs to make it 15-3. Stephens doubled with one-out before Garrastazu cranked his first home run as a Dolphin. A walk to Guardascione was followed by three consecutive singles by Zack Smith, Someillan and Lehane, the latter of which scored a run. Dubrule knocked in his 11th RBI of the weekend on a sacrifice fly to left and Camacho tacked on the final run with a single of his own.
Santana pitched 6.1, allowing six hits, three earned runs and tying a career-high with seven strikeouts in his first game back after missing last week's start.
"Just wanted to get ahead and throw strikes," said Santana. "I've been blessed to have ten runs almost every game.
"It's fun to pitch with a lead."
"Really nice to see him back out there," said Hayes. "He did a nice job of pitching with the lead and letting his defense do the work behind him."
Jacksonville moved into second place in the ASUN with the win, three games back of Stetson with one series to play.
"We're still getting better," said Hayes. "We look forward to these last four being at home and getting after some really good teams."
Jacksonville plays its final four games of the season at home, opening with UCF on Tuesday at 6 p.m.