March 4, 2009

Courtesy of Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE - Senior catcher Brad Simmons went 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBI while five Dolphin pitchers combined to strike out 12 batters to lead the JU baseball team to a 9-4 win over No. 6 Florida State, Tuesday evening in front of 2,097 fans at John Sessions Stadium.

JU (4-4), which has split the season series with FSU in each of the last two years, earned its largest margin of victory over the Seminoles since a 13-4 decision on Feb. 24, 2002 at John Sessions Stadium.

FSU (6-2) tallied only four hits in the contest and committed two errors, one of which helped fuel a five-run sixth inning for JU.

“This game proves that we are capable of beating anyone on any given day,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander, who moved to 598 career wins with the victory. “This team has shown flashes of what it can do and now we have to play with that same passion every day. It was a great effort tonight by our pitching staff and Brad came up with the big hit to set the tone.”

Junior Kyle Kriech (2-1) earned the win after tallying two strikeouts in three perfect innings of a predetermined start. Senior Billy Schlee, sophomore Matt Tomshaw, senior Joey Wedner and sophomore Matt Loosen combined to allow only four runs (three earned) on four hits while striking out 10 in six innings of relief.

Mike McGee (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

Along with Simmons, freshman center fielder Jonathan Murphy went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Senior left fielder Kyle Fleming also finished with multiple hits (2-for-4) with an RBI.

Jason Stidham led the Seminoles by batting 2-for-5 while Stuart Tapley hit a double and drove in two runs.

JU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second when Simmons hit a two-run homer and Fleming got an RBI single. Junior shortstop Derek Abis led off the inning with a walk before Simmons crushed a 2-0 pitch over the right-field wall. Prior to that at-bat, Simmons had been 0-for-8 on the season. Murphy kept things rolling with a single through the left side and then stole second. After junior second baseman Chuck Opachich drew a walk, Fleming dropped a single into right to score Murphy.

The Seminoles cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fourth when Stuart Tapley hit a sacrifice fly to right.

FSU pulled to within 3-2 with a run in the sixth after Tyler Holt stole third and scored in the same play when a throwing error from the plate rolled into left.

The Dolphins increased the lead to 8-2 with six runs in the bottom of the sixth after Simmons and Murphy each drove in a run with a single, two runs scored on a bases loaded walk and a run scored on catcher’s interference.

Sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second when Tommy Oravetz muffed a tailor-made double-play grounder from Abis. Simmons followed with a single back up the middle to score Johnson and Murphy drove in Abis with a single through the left side. After Opachich drew a walk, senior catcher Jeremy Gillan and freshman first baseman Kevin Lehane each drew a walk to drive in a run. Johnson drove in the final run when interference was called on FSU catcher Rafael Lopez.

The Seminoles cut it to 8-3 in the seventh when James Ramsey hit a solo home run.

FSU made it 8-4 in the eighth when Tapley drove in a run with a bases loaded walk.

The Dolphins will continue its homestand at Johns Sessions Stadium on tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. against Florida A&M.