Pro Hockey News

Sunday, May 14, 2023

JU Dolphins Drop Heartbreaker in Finale at Stetson

DELAND ( - Jacksonville University baseball surrendered two runs in the bottom of the ninth to fall 6-4 to Stetson on Sunday afternoon at Melching Field.

The Dolphins (30-21,14-13) dropped the series with the loss."When you go on the road to win a series, you have to play well, and we did for 6.2 innings," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We put a lot of pressure on Leighton Alley and Chris Lotitio and those guys have been rocks for us all year."You have to make plays, you have to make pitches and you have to hit and down the stretch, we didn't do any of them."Lotito came out for the second-straight day, with JU clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth. The first batter he faced popped out into foul territory down the third base line, and the next hitter also hit a weak fly ball. It tracked into shallow left field and fell between Tommy Joseph and Chase Malloy and the tying run was at second with one-out. A walk put two-on, and a double that hugged the third base line tied the game. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, a hit batsman brought in the final run and ended the game."By no means is this Lotito's responsibility, he's been so reliable for us all year," said Hayes. "I hate that he was in that situation."The rally started for Stetson in the seventh. Trailing 5-2, the Hatters drew two walks with two outs, and followed those up with consecutive RBI singles to cut the lead to one. Alley came into the game and retired the first batter he faced, keeping the Dolphins in front for a bit longer.JU took the lead with a big fifth inning. Hogan McIntosh started with a swinging bunt down the line at third, and the Stetson pitcher tried to throw to first while falling away and sailed the throw. The first baseman then threw to second, but his throw bounced between the two middle infielders and when the dust cleared, McIntosh was standing at third. Colin Wetterau drew a walk and Malloy lifted a fly ball to center which scored McIntosh to tie the game at one. Cam Ridley then hit a ball to third that was misplayed, putting two-on with one-out. After Kris Armstrong walked to load the bases, Justin Nadeau hit a sacrifice fly to left to put JU in front. Blake DeLamielleure and Josh Steidl both ripped RBI singles and the Dolphins plated four while batting around in the inning, leading 5-2.The early part of the game was back and forth, with Stetson scoring in the first and JU answering back in the second, thanks to DeLamielleure's leadoff single that turned into the first run of the day for the Dolphins when McIntosh knocked him home from third. Stetson retook the lead in the bottom of the second, but Blake Barquin, making his first career ASUN start, mastered the art of limiting the damage.It started in the first, when he loaded the bases with no-one out, but thanks to a sacrifice fly and an 4-6-3 double play, only allowed one run. In the second, the leadoff man reached, came around to score, and there were two-on with two-outs before a lineout stranded another pair of Hatters on. After two-straight routine innings, he came through big again in the fifth and sixth.The first two Stetson hitters got aboard, thanks to a single and hit-by-pitch. After a pop-out in foul territory, another single loaded the bases with one-out. Another flyout into foul ground and a pop-up to first ended the threat. In the sixth, with a one-out baserunner on first, a comebacker glanced off of Barquin, was fielded by Malloy ranging to his left, who tapped second and fired to first in time for another double play."We've got to fight, we've got to get in the [ASUN] tournament," said Hayes. "We've still got work to do and a really good UNF team coming in extremely hot."We've got to spend this week preparing."Jacksonville travels to Statesboro, Georgia to face Georgia Southern for the second time this season. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday night.