SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2014
Six-Run Ninth Gives Jacksonville Comeback Win at Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - It ain’t over till it’s over. Jacksonville rallied for six runs in the top of the ninth to earn a 9-7 come from behind win at USC Upstate and move one step closer to securing a spot in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
The Dolphins (16-30; 9-13 A-Sun) can secure their spot tomorrow as they magic number is down to one as they hold a four game lead on Upstate (15-35; 5-17 A-Sun) with four conference games remaining.
“This was huge for us, especially after the result from last night and being down the way we were late in the ball game,” said closer Adam Maxon. “We easily could have rolled over right there and started getting ready for tomorrow. Our guys fought, and the offense did a great job of coming back and getting us seven runs in the last two innings to make us come out on top.”
Jacksonville was slow get going offensively, but came thru when it counted most. Trailing 7-3 entering the ninth, the Dolphins had not won a game when trailing after the eighth inning this season. That all changed tonight. Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.) ripped a one-out single to right to bring in the first run of the inning. Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.) followed with an infield single to third to score Garret Ruckel (Jacksonville, Fla.) who reached on a hit by a pitch.
With the lead now down to two at 7-5, Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.) bounced a single through the right side for his second RBI of the game to set the stage for the go-ahead at-bat by Braddock Rowe (Jacksonville, Fla.). Down to the last out Rowe launched a deep fly to straight away center that was dropped by the Spartans outfielder. The two-base miscue scored both Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Schaub and game JU an 8-7 lead. Not done yet, Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.) followed with a single to center to extend the lead to 9-7.
Backed by the biggest come from behind since 2009, Maxon (Oviedo, Fla.) had little trouble on the mound in the ninth. Maxon struck out the first to hitters on seven pitches on the way to a 1-2-3 inning for his seventh save of the year. The senior captain moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time saves list at JU with 14 in the process. Ryan Quintero (Miami, Fla.) was credited with his first career win after working a 1-2-3 eighth.
“I was trying to stay mentally locked in and prepare for the situation if it came about,” said Maxon when the rally started in the ninth. “Our guys in the line-up did a great job responding there. We were down by a ton of runs there. Hats off to those guys for being able to put me in that situation.”
The Spartans started the game off by continued their momentum from Friday night. Upstate scored in each of the first four innings building up a 5-0 lead as Jacksonville was never quite able to stay out of trouble.
Things looked to turn the Dolphins was in the top of the sixth. Ruckel started things off with a one-out infield single then advanced to third on a throwing error by the pitcher on a pickoff attempt. Dillard eventually drove in Ruckel on a sacrifice fly before Schaub had a RBI single to left.
The Jacksonville rally wouldn’t last long unfortunately. Stephen Dowling led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left on the first pitch he saw. The Spartans added a RBI single later in the inning to build the lead back to five once again at 7-2.
A two-out RBI single by Gibson in the eighth closed the gap to 7-3 setting the stage for the ninth inning rally.
Jacksonville was without shortstop Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.) for the third straight game who continues to battle a stomach virus.
“It is an awesome feeling knowing that we are right there with a chance to clinch a spot in the A-Sun Tournament tomorrow.” Maxon added. “We haven’t been able to get there for a couple of years. If we can just get there and put ourselves in that opportunity we’ll have a shot at it and see what happens.”
Game three of the series is scheduled for a 1:00 pm start on Sunday and can been seen live on ESPN3.