Win Streak Continues with Late Rally Against Lincoln Memorial

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

Neil Hardon (Pictured) Registered a Triple and Two-Run Single on Monday Evening Versus Lincoln Memorial University in a 9-7 Sailfish Victory. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Neil Hardon (Pictured) Registered a Triple and Two-Run Single on Monday Evening Versus Lincoln Memorial University in a 9-7 Sailfish Victory. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

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LAKE WORTH, Fla.- After Palm Beach Atlantic jumped out to a 6-0 lead through six innings behind another strong outing from right-hander Peter Graffeo, the freshman passed on the lead to his bullpen for the final three frames. Back came Lincoln Memorial however as they took a brief 7-6 lead with three runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth only to see the Sailfish plate three of their own in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn a 9-7 win.

Carlos Hechavarria (1-0) came on in the seventh inning after the first PBA reliever loaded the bases with nobody out. After retiring the first two batters with no one scoring, Hechavarria lost the battle with Railsplitter third-baseman Cody Pack who cleared the bases with a long triple just beyond the diving reach of PBA right-fielder Sam Testa that cut the lead to 6-3. He would retire the final batter of the inning to keep the lead safe in the seventh.

Back came the Railsplitters (14-10) in the eighth inning however as they greeted Hechavarria with three straight singles followed by another runner reaching on a botched PBA defensive play on a sacrifice bunt attempt by LMU. Left-fielder Cody Baker then followed with a two-run single that tied the game at 6-6.

The Fish hoped to be out of the inning when they got Juan Alvarez to ground a ball to second-base however senior Dion Pouncil was unable to handle the ball as Baker came in to score the go-ahead run.

Back came the Sailfish however in the bottom of the eighth inning as they plated three runs to go back on top and earn the victory.

Senior Neil Hardon begn the big inning with a one-out triple off the right-field wall then came trotting home on a sharp double down the line by Justin Sizemore to tie the score at 7-7. The Fish got the extra runs they needed when Jonny Herrera delivered a big two-run double down the left-field line that scored both Sizemore and Scott Urbanek who had walked and stolen second-base earlier in the inning.

Hechavarria and left-hander Graham White combined on the ninth inning with White retiring both the left-handers he faced on swinging strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.

PBA got on the board in the first inning when they plated four runs and benefited from some early wildness out of LMU starting pitcher Brandon Cowan.

Scott Urbanek was hit by a pitch to lead off the ballgame followed by a stolen base, a lineout by Herrera and then three straight walks including a bases-loaded free pass to Vasilios Mila who picked up the RBI. Testa would come in to score on a rare steal of home as he sprinted ahead of the pitch from the left-handed Cowan. Hardon would add a two-run single into right-field later in the inning that gave the Fish a 4-0 early lead.

Graffeo escaped a first-inning jam and then became nearly unhittable as he allowed only two hits and four walks in six innings while tying his career-high he set in his last start of nine strikeouts.

The game would remain 4-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Sailfish tallied two unearned runs when Urbanek’s groundball to the shortstop was misplayed allowing Sizemore and Keith Clabaugh to score.

Hardon finished with a 2-for-4 night including one run scored and two driven in. Sizemore entered as a pinch-runner for Stephen Fowler in the sixth inning after Fowler singled, stole second-base but had to removed because of injury. Sizemore finished 1-for-1 at the plate with two runs scored.

Pack finished 2-for-5 for the Railsplitters while Baker added in a 2-for-4 night as well.

Austin Johnson tallied 3.2 innings in relief for LMU but was tagged with the loss after allowing five hits and four runs (two earned) and striking out four batters.

Palm Beach Atlantic has now won five games in a row and will play on Tuesday in Miami at Florida Memorial University at 3 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. contest on Wednesday evening at St. Thomas University. The FMU game will be carried live on the Sailfish Sports Network.

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