FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Eighth-ranked Lynn overcame three errors and a four-run deficit behind a perfect performance at the plate by Alex DeBellis to top Nova Southeastern 9-8 on Friday night. DeBellis went 4-for-4 with a double, stolen base and three runs batted in to help the Fighting Knights improve to 30-8 overall and 12-4 in the Sunshine State Conference.
On the mound, Bill Mendek came through big in relief tossing four scoreless innings with six strikeouts to earn his fifth victory of the season. Starter Jed Vandernaald had his string of consecutive quality starts snapped as he allowed seven runs, four earned, on four hits with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Bobby Kruse provided the perfect stop-gap with two Ks, two hits and one run allowed in 1.1 frames.
Trailing 7-3 entering the fifth, the Blue & White began to mount their comeback. The Sharks (24-11, 8-8 SSC) were forced into an early pitching change with runners on first and second and DeBellis at the plate. A junior first baseman, he took a 1-1 offering from Mitchell Buerosse and sent it into the right center field gap, driving home Thomas Kain. Nova’s wildness came into effect from there as it walked Matt Ackerman and Albert Lefran each with the bases loaded to make it a 7-6 game.
The Sharks were able to get back a run in the home half of the fifth but Lynn battled back to knot the game at 8-8 in the sixth. DeBellis drove in another run with a single while a bases loaded passed ball squared things up.
Lynn threatened in the seventh but found daylight in the eighth following another error by the Sharks third baseman. DeBellis put runners on the corners with a single up the middle and swiped second base to take away a potential one-out possibility. Matt Ackerman did the rest, launching a sacrifice fly to left field to score Giardina as the winning run.
The speed of Michael Stemle helped the Fighting Knights grab a 1-0 lead in the third. He would beat the throw to first on an infield single then made his way to third base off a hard-hit single up the middle by Enrique Perez. Alex Freedman then brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center field. DeBelis picked up his first RBI on the day with a bases loaded walk while Mike Gonzalez made it a 3-0 Lynn advantage with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Kain went 3-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored. Stemle stole two bases to increase his season total to 21 and Perez swiped three bags.
Lynn let NSU back in the game in the fourth as three errors led to four unearned runs and seven runs in total. The Sharks were able to get to Vandernaald with five hits before Kruse struck out Alex Fernandez with runners in scoring position.