FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014
Jacksonville Sweeps Double Header on 12th Inning Walkoff
Angelo Amendolare (Photo bby Skip Tapp)
Angelo Amendolare (Photo bby Skip Tapp)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A three-run 12th inning rally capped by a two-out, two run single by Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.) sent Jacksonville to a double header sweep of Northern Kentucky on the penultimate day of the regular season. Winners now of four of the last five games, the Dolphins will look to complete their first series sweep this season on Saturday at 1:00 pm.

“It’s never over with us,” said Amendolare. “We battled till the end and all of us know that it just takes one inning and if we all come together we can do it.”

Jacksonville (19-31; 12-13 A-Sun) will enter tomorrow’s final game holding pat to the 7th seed in the upcoming Atlantic Sun Tournament and just a half game behind Stetson in 6th, which finishes the year at home against USC Upstate tomorrow.

Amendolare highlighted an afternoon that saw the Dolphins pound out 24 hits over the 21 innings of play. The come from behind win in game two marked the second time in the last four conference games the Dolphins had a late inning Journey moment. After allowing Northern Kentucky (14-36; 6-20 A-Sun) to take a 6-4 lead with two runs in the top of the 12th, Jacksonville did not stop believing.

“You play to be in situations like that,” Amendolare said when comparing the win to the six-run ninth inning comeback at USC Upstate last Saturday. “When you have your team behind you, you know that good things are about to happen.”

Amendolare drove in three runs in the night cap thriller going 3-for-6. With JU trailing 6-5 and two outs in the 12th, the junior shortstop lined a single into left center for the game winner. Junior Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.) started the rally with a single to right to bring home the first run of the inning for the Dolphins. After Braddock Rowe (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases things looked dire for JU when NKU reliever Kyle Colletta struck out two straight hitters. Amendolare changed all that as he brought home Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.), who reached on a infield single and Gibson to give JU its first walk-off win since a 2-1 victory over Radford in the 2013 season opener.

The Dolphins appear to have the game won in the 11th, but a one out sac fly attempt by sophomore Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.) turned into a double play when the would be game winning run was gunned down at home.

The Norse grabbed a 3-0 lead early in the game by taking advantage of a three straight hit batters by Ryan Quintero (Miami, Fla.) in the second. Take over for starter Justin Russell (Jacksonville, Fla.), who threw just one inning before leaving the game early, Quintero struggled through the second allowing three runs. The sophomore reliever was virtually unhittable afterwards however. Following the shaky 2nd, Quintero retired 12 of the next 13 batters and faced the minimum over the next four innings to keep the Dolphins in the game.

“‘Q’ really stepped up for us there,” Amendolare said. “Being the second game of the double header our bull pen was thin when he had to be called in so early. He came through when we needed him.”
 
Jacksonville eventually tied the game with a three run fifth behind a two-out RBI double by Marabell and a RBI single from senior Scott Schaub (Ocala, Fla.). The Dolphins took the lead in the sixth as Amendolare dropped a two-out bloop double into left center. The lead would hold until the eight when NKU tied it up on a one-out single to left by DH Logan Spurlin, who left the game injured after the play.

Jacksonville took game one by capitalizing on four Northern Kentucky errors, scoring seven unearned runs. Marabell went 3-for-4 with a two runs batted in as he drove in four runs on the day to reach 30 RI on the season. Schaub also had two RBI for the fifth straight game, extending his hitting streak to 11 straight games with a two-run double in the third inning. His RBI single in game two moved the streak to a team high 12 games and upped his RBI numbers to 45, including 21 in the last 14 games.

Schaub’s double in the third helped push the Dolphins out to a 4-0 lead. Northern Kentucky cut the lead in half in the fourth after leading off the inning with back-to-back doubles. That would be it offensively for the Norse however as JU starter Alex McRae (West Allis, Wis.) shut them down in the fifth before giving way to Josh Baker (Sussex, Wis.). Baker surrendered just one hit over the final 3.2 innings to earn his first career save. McRae meanwhile established a career high with his fifth win of the year going 5.1 innings allowing four hits and the two runs.

A sac fly by Rowe added to the lead in the sixth before the Dolphins put the game out of reach with a  three run eighth. Sophomore Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.) extended his streak to seven straight games with RBI with a run scoring ground out in the inning as he ended the game going 2-for-4 and also scored a run.

Jacksonville honored its 2014 graduates, Schaub, Rowe, Adam Maxon, Zach Gordon, Will Flor and Drew Luther before the game.

“We are going to come back at them tomorrow,” added Amendolare. “We want to get the sweep. If we come out and play hand we’ll carry that momentum we need going into the tournament.”

The series vs Northern Kentucky concludes at 1:00 pm on Saturday. Listen live on 92.5 FM as Scott Manze will be in the catbird seat. It will be senior day for the Dolphins which will honor the five student-athletes playing in the final home game.