JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville was able to avoid in a big inning by No. 17 Indiana in a win on Friday night, but Saturday was a different story. On the strength of a three-run fourth and four-run eighth, the Hoosiers claimed a 9-2 victory at Sessions Stadium to end a three-game winning streak for the Dolphins.
“They took advantage of their opportunities today and we didn’t,” said Head Coach Tim Montez. “Baseball is a game of fundamentals and execution. The effort was there fro us, but when you’re playing a top 20 team in the country you have to be able to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s and we just didn’t do that today.”
Jacksonville (4-8) starter Alex McRae (West Allis, Wis.) extended his scoreless inning streak to 13 straight before Indiana first reached him in the third. One inning after McRae worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam unscathed, the Hoosiers scored their first run on two singles and a stolen base in the third.
Indiana (6-6) then took control of the game in the fourth using three walks to score three runs on just one hit.
“McRae battled, but didn’t have his best stuff today and they did a good job of being aggressive at the plate,” Montez said.
The Dolphins managed to cut the 4-0 deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff walk to sophomore Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) and a bunt single by Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.) helped set up a two-run single by Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.). The bases were loaded again with two outs in the inning, but a fielder’s choice ground out to third ended the rally.
After Indiana put one back on the board in the fifth, Jacksonville had a chance to climb back into the game in the bottom half of the seventh. Back-to-back leadoff walks put the Dolphins into posting with leading hitter Marabell who was already 2-for-2 on the day coming to the plate. Marabell lined a hard hit shot that was snagged by the left fielder who fired to second to double-up the Dolphins and end another rally.
“We shot our selves in the foot there,” said Montez. “We had an opportunity to get to their guy then had the base running error where we got doubled up at second base. Those things right there are fundamental baseball you have to be able to think ahead in those situations.”
The Hoosiers then all but put the game out of reach in the eighth scoring four runs off the Dolphins bullpen.
Dillard, Marabell and freshman Khalil Searcy (Jacksonville, Fla.) each had two of the 10 hits in the game for Jacksonville. McRae (1-3) took the loss allowing four runs in six hits in four innings. Scott Effross picked up the win out of the bull pen for Indiana. Effross went 4.1 innings allowing four hits and no runs.
Game three of the series is Sunday at 12:00 pm. Richard Miller, host of Miller on Sports, will have all the action for you on 92.5 FM.