FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2010
Baseball falls to UNC Wilmington, 6-3, in season opener
Junior catcher Alex Swenson
Junior catcher Alex Swenson
The Dolphins rallied for a lead in the fourth inning but weren’t able to hold on as the JU baseball team fell to UNC-Wilmington, 6-3, in the 2010 season opener Friday afternoon at John Sessions.

JU (0-1) rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the fourth but UNCW (1-0) answered with two runs in the fifth and never looked back.

“It was a good effort today but there are some things that we need to clean up,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We had a little bit of jitters out there today and now we need to get into the mindset that the season is upon us and just go out and play baseball. We’re looking to come out here tomorrow and try to even things up.”

Senior Glenn Witkowski (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits with four walk and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Freshman Sean Kennedy allowed only one run, struck out three batters and did not walk a batter in 3.1 innings of strong relief.

Tyler McSwain (1-0) earned the win after hurling 3.1 innings of shutout relief while Jesse Haney notched the save with two perfect innings to close it out. Seth Frankoff got the no-decision after allowing three runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

Senior second baseman Chuck Opachich, junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins and junior catcher Alex Swenson each finished with multiple hits and an RBI to lead the Dolphins.

Michael Rooney finished 3-for-5 with an RBI while Robbie Monday got the Seahawks off to a fast start with a two-run homer.

UNCW took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second when Monday hit a towering two-run shot off the video portion of the scoreboard with no outs.

The Seahawks threatened in the top of the third when Rooney led off the inning with a bunt single to third but advanced to third on a throwing error on the play. Witkowski would get out of the jam unscathed by getting Ben Thielsen to ground back to the mound, Andrew Cain to fly out to center and Cody Stanley to fly out to right.

The Dolphins took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Swenson, Opachich and Hawkins each recorded an RBI single.

Sophomore designated hitter Kevin Lehane led off the inning with a walk before moving to second on a base hit through the right side by junior right fielder Esterlin Perozo. With one out, Swenson laced a bouncer up the middle to score Lehane from second. With two outs, Opachich pulled a ball through the left side to plate Perozo and move Swenson to second. Hawkins followed with a pulled single through the left side to score Swenson.

The Seahawks recaptured the lead, 4-3, in the top of the fifth when Grayson Evans drove in a run with a fister up the first base line with the bases loaded and one out. After an intentional walk to the Monday to load the bases, Matt Holt drew a bases loaded walk on a 3-2 count with two outs to give UNCW the lead. With the bases still loaded, Kennedy entered the contest and struck out Alex Hill swinging to end the inning.

UNCW increased the lead to 5-3 in the top of the eighth when Rooney hit an RBI single up the middle with a runner on third and two outs.

The Seahawks added another insurance run in the top of the ninth when Holt drew another bases loaded walk with two outs.

Game Two of the series will be on Saturday at 1 p.m. at John Sessions Stadium. The contest can be followed on ASun.TV or through live stats on JUDolphins.com.