Sailfish Search for Answers After Late Inning Defeat at Barry University
February 23, 2010
Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director
MIAMI SHORES, Fla.- Leading 7-4 into the bottom of the seventh inning after a big three-run homerun from shortstop Tommy Crews, it appeared as if the Sailfish baseball team might sneak out of Miami on Tuesday evening with a victory over Barry University. That however all changed when the Buccaneers answered PBA’s big top half of the seventh inning with one of their own as they tallied four runs and held on for an 8-7 victory at Feinbloom Field.
A picturesque night for baseball as the temperature hovered in the low 70’s for much of the evening, fans on hand were treated to a back-and-forth contest that saw both teams have their chances at victory.
Palm Beach Atlantic (1-8) senior right-hander Martin Suarez drew his first start of the 2010 season for the Fish while Barry (5-5) countered with first-time starter Corey Witkowski in the midweek contest.
After a shaky start that saw a balk and a throwing error by Suarez allow two runs to come in to score through the first two innings, the Dominican Republic native settled down and gave his team a chance to win.
PBA answered Barry’s first inning run with two of their own in the top of the second inning as Vasilios Mila contributed a RBI groundout while Neil Hardon added in a RBI sacrifice fly.
After BU tied the ballgame in the bottom of the second inning on a Drew Dwelly solo homerun, both pitchers would begin to settle down and keep the respective offenses at bay.
The Bucs added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings on sacrifice flies to take a 4-2 lead entering the top of the seventh inning.
Sam Testa began the seventh inning by reaching on an error followed by a double from senior Tony Livelsberger that put both men on second and third with nobody out. Livelsberger would be the final batter that Witkowski would face as BU head coach Mark Pavao would reach into his bullpen and bring in submarining right-hander Brian Santana.
After retiring the first batter he faced on an infield popup, Santana was then greeted by Mila who tied the game on a two-run single down the left-field line while getting thrown out at second-base trying to stretch his run-scoring hit into extra bases.
After Neil Hardon reached on a misplayed popup and pinch-hitter Luis Mejia drew a walk, in stepped Crews who had struck out his previous two plate appearances. After battling to a 3-2 count, Crews drilled Santana’s payoff pitch high into the Miami night as it sailed over the right-centerfield wall for a momentum changing three-run homerun and a 7-4 PBA lead.
With Suarez now in position to collect a victory, PBA head coach Gary Carter turned to his bullpen first bringing in Chad Volbert.
Barry right-fielder Yas Guitierrez banged a double off the center-field fence but was left standing at second-base as Volbert retired the next two hitters. In stepped third-baseman Matt Petty who delivered a RBI single that cut into the PBA lead 7-5. Second-baseman James Young was the next BU hitter to the batter’s box as he hit a ball into short right-field that PBA outfielder Ismael Cotto was unable to handle for an error.
Dwelly stepped in next for the Bucs and promptly delivered a game-tying two-run single that blooped into short right-field, then escaping Cotto allowing Dwelly to move into scoring position.
Freshman right-hander Peter Graffeo would replace the tough-luck of Volbert and be greeted by pinch-hitter Ryan Garcia who connected for an RBI double to give the Bucs the go-ahead run to score.
Barry relievers Tyler King and Scott Sexton pitched the final two innings for the hold and save. Sexton allowed a one-out single to Mila in the ninth however he was retired on a double-play to end the game as Hardon’s soft liner was caught by the BU shortstop with Mila running on the pitch.
Mila finished 2-for-4 on the night to pace the Sailfish five-hit night while Dwelly finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored for BU. Former Sailfish infielder now turned Buccaneers first-baseman Joaquin Valdes finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he was hit by a pitch.
The fifth straight win for Barry after five straight losses to start the season pushes their record to 5-5 while PBA drops to 1-8.
The Fish will next take the field on Friday, February 26th against cross-town rival Northwood University for the beginning of a three-game weekend series. Palm Beach Atlantic welcomes NU to Dave Manzo Field on Friday for a 6 p.m. contest followed by two more on Saturday at Northwood beginning at 12:00 p.m.