JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A double-header sweep clinched a series win for Jacksonville University baseball over Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday.
JU (24-13, 6-3) won game one 15-5 and game two 5-1 over FGCU (25-9, 3-3) at John Sessions Stadium.
"Ultimately, you have to go into it attacking game one," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "You do whatever you can to play well in the first game, not even thinking about the second one, and our guys did a really good job of that."
The Dolphins brought the bats in game one, hammering out 15 hits en route to 15 runs in support of starter Tyler Santana (6-1). JU took the lead 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Angel Camacho and John Cassala reached to start the inning on a single and an error, respectively. Jacob Southern clubbed his first career triple to plate them both, and two batters later Duncan Hunter drove in Southern.
FGCU got one back in the third. A leadoff single came in to score on a groundout to short, which would be all the Eagles would manage off Santana until the seventh.
JU blew it open in the fourth, scoring six on six hits and bringing 10 to the plate. Southern hit an RBI double, Chris Lehane drove in two with a double as well and Camacho capped it off with a two-run home run, his third of the year. JU tacked on an additional run in the sixth, when Camacho singled in Ruben Someillan, who walked to lead off the inning.
"Offensively, they made it really easy for Santana to do what he does, and Tyler was phenomenal and gave us everything that we needed," said Hayes.
FGCU finally got to Santana, chasing him in the seventh after he walked the first man and surrendered a double and an RBI single to start the frame. The Eagles picked up two more hits and scored three more off Andrew Ciocia to make it 10-5, but Matt Meyer got a strikeout to end the inning, stranding two on.
Southern doubled to start the bottom of the seventh and scored on Lehane's single. Dubrule then drove in Someillan, who had walked and Camacho ended it with a three-run jack to left, his second of the game. Unplanned double-headers can end after seven innings, if the home team is up by 10 runs, which is why Camacho's long ball doubled as a walkoff.
FGCU struck first in game two, picking up two first inning hits off JU starter Spencer Stockton (4-4). A sacrifice fly to left plated the first run of the game, but Connor Stephens' twisting and diving catch at the wall limited it to just one run on the play. Stockton settled down and retired the next 11 Eagles he faced.
JU tied in the second, when Southern, who had four hits in the two games combined, drove in three and scored five times on the day, singled, moved to second on a sacrifice, and scored on Hunter's RBI single to left.
The Dolphins took the lead for good in the third when Dubrule and Camacho picked up base hits, and Sam Armstrong sacrificed them over. After Southern walked to load the bases, Stephens doubled to right field to score two. Franco Guardascione singled in another and it was 4-1 JU after three. The Dolphins tacked on one more in the fourth, on an RBI single up the middle for Evan Fernandez, scoring Lehane.
"We swung the bat exceptionally well all day today," said Hayes.
Stockton rolled into the ninth, allowing just three base runners from the second until the final frame. A runner reached third in the fifth with no outs, but he induced two pop-ups in the infield and then a strikeout looking to strand him. Stockton finished the night with a career-high 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings.
"I just wanted to keep the momentum from game one of the double header," said Stockton. "I learned a lot from Chris Gau and Santana about how to pitch to these guys and just executed."
"You can see his outings getting better and better and he was as good as he has been this year," said Hayes.
FGCU strung together back-to-back two out hits in the ninth, and JU went to Chris Mauloni to close it out. After a walk to the first batter he faced, the freshman single-season saves leader induced a flyout to short to end it, registering his 14th save of the season.
"Florida Gulf Coast is a good baseball team, as good a bunch as we have faced all year," said Hayes. "To win a series at home is a great step forward, but we are still ascending towards May."
Jacksonville heads on the road on Tuesday to play Florida for the second time this season in Gainesville. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.