SUNDAY, MARCH 02, 2014
Dolphins Blank Winthrop To Take Weekend Series
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On the verge of an offensive break out all week, the Dolphins finally delivered on Sunday with a season high 15 hits in a 8-0 win over Winthrop to give Jacksonville its first series win of the season.
Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.), Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.,) led the way for the Dolphins offensively combining for eight hits in the heart of the lineup as eight of the nine starters hit safely in the game for the second time this season. On the mound Justin Russell (Jacksonville, Fla.) picked up his second win of the year tossing six shutout innings allowing only five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
“It comes down to pitching and defense and I thought we executed as well as we have so far in this young season,” said Head Coach Tim Montez. “We did a good job of scoring first today then extending the lead. Our 2-3-4 hitters had over half our hits when you get production from that part of the lineup good things are going to happen.”
Good things happened for Jacksonville (3-7) early on when a double to left by Babb (2-for-4; 3 runs) and a single by Marabell (3-for-5; 1 run, 1 RBI) gave the Dolphins a 1-0 lead in the first. The club added another in the second when a two-out double by freshman Khalil Searcy (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored Seth Dewitt (Jacksonville, Fla.) all the way from first.
Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.) made it 3-0 with a RBI single in the fourth setting the stage for the Dolphins breakout inning in the fifth. Jacksonville broke the game open with three runs on three hits. Gibson (3-for-5; 1 run, 3 RBI), Braddock Rowe (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.) all had RBI in the frame as the Dolphins built up their largest lead this season.
Coming off an off outing last Saturday, Russell returned to form on the hill following a momentum changing double play in the first. The junior right-hander put two on with one out in the opening inning before inducing a 6-4-3 inning ending double play that cut a Winthrop (6-5) rally short. Russell would then cruise through the next two innings before working out of another jam in the fourth and then again in the sixth when the Dolphins turned their second double-play of the game and 11th this season.
“That was the key to the ball game for him,” Montez said of the double-play for Russell in the first. “It was just a matter of having him settle in there a bit and slow things down so he could keep making the pitches he needed when they could have had something going offensively. He did a nice job and we got two double plays today to back him up.”
Ray Moody (Greenville, Ala.), Zach Gordon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Parker Perez (Winter Springs, Fla.) each tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen to seal the win.
With Russell’s outing today the Jacksonville starters didn’t allow a single run in 22 combined innings pitched in the three game series and gave the Dolphins staff its first back-to-back shutouts since the 2002 season.
“It was a good weekend for the starting pitchers, they took a plan into the weekend and executed it,” said Montez. “We can enjoy this now for 12 hours then it's back to work on Monday. We have a very good nationally ranked Indiana team coming in next weekend that can absolutely swing the bats. It's going to be a tremendous test for our staff and great experience for our quest to continue to get better as a group and as we enter conference play in a couple weeks.”
Schaub (2-for-4; 1 run, 1 RBI) and Dewitt (2-for-3; 1 run) each had two hits as well for Jacksonville. Josh Strong (0-2) took the loss on the mound for the Eagles.
The Dolphins begin a three game series at home against 2013 College World Series participant No. 17 Indiana on Friday at 6:30 p.m.