Eagles Squeak by Jacksonville
Scott Schaub went 4-for-4 with a RBI (Photo by Skip Tapp)
Scott Schaub went 4-for-4 with a RBI (Photo by Skip Tapp)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In a highly competitive contest throughout, visiting Florida Gulf Coast squeaked by Jacksonville 3-2  in game two of an Atlantic Sun conference series on Saturday at John Sessions Stadium.

“I was really proud of the way our guys pitched and played defense today after getting slugged in the mouth last night,” said Head Coach Tim Montez.

Senior Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.) once again paced the Dolphins offensively as he and Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) combined to 7-for-8 in the four and five spots. The duo accounted for the first run of the day for Jacksonville that tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth.

Florida Gulf Coast (24-12; 9-2 A-Sun) grabbed the initial 1-0 lead with a two-out single in the third, before the Dolphins used some timely two out hitting of their own. A two-out double by Marabell, his sixth of the year, was followed with a RBI single to center by Schuab, who entered the weekend hitting over. 500 this year with runners in scoring position.

“Right now it’d be hard to argue that Schaub is not the best third baseman in the conference,” said Montez of his senior who made a number of key plays at third, including starting one of two double plays in the game turned by Jacksonville. “He was 4-for-4 today and has just been doing a phenomenal job is every phase of the game. If we can just get a few of our guys to take his approach and play the way he’s playing then we got a chance to do some things.”

The Eagles would go up 3-1 in the fifth scoring two more runs with two outs. Dolphins starter Josh Baker (Sussex, Wis.) surrendered a leadoff double, but then got two straight ground outs. Baker (3-2) then appeared to be out of the inning but didn’t get the called third strike he needed on a 1-2 pitch to Nick Rivera who eventually singled in the go ahead run. a RBI double followed before Baker closed out the frame with his second strikeout.

Jacksonville (11-23; 5-9 A-Sun) had another rally going in the sixth fueled by a lead off double from Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.). He later came into to score on a ground out by Marabell, but the inning eventually ended with runners stranded on second and third for the Dolphins. Runners were also left in scoring position with two outs in the eighth and the ninth as Jacksonville was never able to get the key hit needed to even the score.

“Offensively we were too passive in key situations at the plate, said Montez. “You have to swing the bat aggressively and take what the other team is giving you. If we are going to do anything of significance from this point forward we are going to have to change our mind set when facing those types of situations.

The Dolphins were given their chances to take the lead due to another strong performance in relief from a senior pitcher. Zach Gordon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) who was coming off his second win of the year in a start on Wednesday, took over in the sixth and allowed just four hits, no walks and no runs in four innings of work. In his last 9.2 innings, Gordon has given up just one run and not walked a batter.

“Baker got himself into a little bit of trouble early, but did what a starter should do and put us in position to win,” Montez said. “Like (Will) Flor last night, Gordon did what a senior should do and kept us in the ball game with another strong outing.”

Schaub’s 4-for-4 effort was the first by a Dolphins since current sophomore Nate Ricci (Madison, Wis.), who had a pinch hit double in the 9th, went 4-for-4 in a win at FIU on May 7, 2013.

“We have to come out tomorrow and string some things together offensively,” added Montez.

The series concludes on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Catch all the action on 92.5 FM.