PBA Baseball Slow Out of the Gate in Season Opener Loss Versus Lynn
February 1, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
JUPITER, Fla.- After being rained out in both their attempts last season to ring in the new baseball season by hosting a game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Palm Beach Atlantic was able to welcome in a solid crowd of around 500 people on Tuesday evening on a perfect night for baseball. Although the atmosphere and weather would cooperate, the Sailfish would struggle at times on the field as they could not shake off a tough start in dropping the season opener 8-4 to Lynn University.
Armed with approximately 25 new faces for the season and under the direction of second-year head coach and Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter, the young Fish perhaps were plagued by some early-season jitters as they fell behind early to the Fighting Knights.
Newcomer T.J. Harbuck would get the starting nod as the redshirt-sophomore transfer pitched well at times but struggled with his command as he was lifted after 4.2 innings of work while giving up six of the eight runs of the contest.
The Sailfish bats would also be a bit gun-shy in the early going while also being tripped up by some bad luck and some timely defensive plays by the Knights infield defense. On three different occasions on Tuesday night the Sailfish would have runners on only to hit into a double-play to squelch a potential rally.
After claiming the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship in baseball, the first in program history, the Knights are attempting to shake off a lackluster performance in 2010 that saw the team lose 37 games including four of five to their Palm Beach County rivals in the Sailfish.
LU head coach Rudy Garbalosa would utilize a group effort on the pitcher’s mound in his club’s season opener as well as newcomer Andrew Virgili logged the first four innings while allowing no runs on one hit and striking out seven men. Kyle Wolfe would come on for three innings of effective relief as he scattered four hits and allowed only one run in picking up his first win.
Shawn Kale got some much needed help from his defense in the late innings as he battled through the final two innings while allowing three runs and walking three men.
After breezing through the first frame, PBA’s Harbuck would run into some trouble in the second inning as LU mounted four runs to move ahead early. Back-to-back singles from Eric Herrera and Dane Derstine began the frame for Lynn followed by a walk and a sacrifice fly RBI from second-baseman Kyle Radzewski that brought home the game’s first run.
After an infield single loaded the bases, the Knights would tack on a pair more in the inning on a bases-loaded walk to Austin Smith and a fielder’s choice RBI.
Derstine would add another RBI in the top of the fifth inning while LU made it 6-0 on a wild-pitch from reliever Kenny Frosch.
The Sailfish got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning as freshman Jorge Chavarria cranked a one-out double into the left-field corner followed by an opposite-field RBI single from Taylor Kaprive.
Chavarria would contribute an RBI single of his own in the eighth inning that plated fellow freshman Brooks Fleming to get the Sailfish a bit closer at 8-2 while a two-run single from Fleming in the bottom of the ninth off Kale made things a bit more interesting as the Fish attempted a late-comeback.
In the end however, Chavarria would be retired on a foul-out down the right-field line to end the game and secure a season-opening win for the Knights.
Derstine finished with a solid night as he went 3-for-5 for the Fighting Knights while shortstop Johnny Broderick added a 2-for-4 showing to aid the Knights attack.
PBA saw solid contributions from Chavarria who went 2-for-5 with a run scored and another driven in while Fleming concluded his night 1-for-3 with two runs batted in and another run scored.
Following Harbuck in relief were solid showings from a trio of PBA bullpen arms in Frosch who tossed 1.1 innings while freshman right-hander Byron Skinner showed some good work with 1.2 innings of time on the hill. Sophomore lefty Alejandro De Moya looked sharp as well with 1.1 innings of hitless relief.
PBA will now look to the weekend as they will host Northwood University at Dave Manzo Field on Friday, February 5th at 6 pm followed by a double-header across town on NU’s campus on Saturday, February 6th beginning at 12 pm.