Seahawks Rally Late as Northwood Hands Sailfish Baseball a Tough Loss
February 4, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
LAKE WORTH, Fla.- Leading 6-2 entering the eighth inning on Friday night before a nice crowd at Dave Manzo Field, the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team had what they appeared to be a comfortable lead entering the final two frames. The scrappy Northwood University Seahawks would see it differently however as they scored four runs in the eighth to tie the game and pushed across two more runs in the top of the ninth inning and held on for the 8-7 win.
The comeback victory for NU was their first of the season after dropping their opener earlier this week while PBA falls to 0-2. The Sailfish will have their shot at revenge two times over on Saturday afternoon as they will take on their cross-town rivals in a double-header on NU’s campus beginning at 11 am.
Friday night’s contest would end on a controversial play as PBA pinch-runner Justin Sizemore was gunned down attempting to steal second-base much to the chagrin of the Sailfish coaching staff, players, and fans who were all in obvious disagreement with the game-ending call as Sizemore’s head first slide was deemed not in time.
PBA junior Logan Thomas went a strong six innings in his first outing of the season on the mound as he would exit having given up only two runs while allowing just three hits and one walk. Both runs came on a fifth inning two-run homerun by NU second-baseman Kevin Sides. Thomas finished with six strikeouts.
Palm Beach Atlantic put together offensive chances throughout the night as they rattled off 11 total hits however the young squad also left five men on base, had two players thrown out at the plate and another out at third-base attempting to move up on a wild pitch.
After a scoreless first inning, the Sailfish were able to plate three runs in the bottom of the second as junior Nick Natale walked then stole second-base and advanced to third on a catcher’s over-throw. Taylor Kaprive followed with a walk before a strikeout of Matt Civetti which brought up freshman right-fielder Brooks Fleming who connected with a RBI single to right-field to plate the game’s first run.
A balk would then be called on NU starting pitcher Nicholas Rodriguez moving both runners into scoring position before a strikeout of Ethan Perla made it two outs. Freshman Jorge Chavarria stepped in next however and drilled a double down the left-field line that scored both runners and put PBA on top early 3-0.
With Thomas cruising along, the Fish would chase Rodriguez from the hill as reliever Jeff Fignar would enter for the next three innings as he would be touched for three more runs in his three innings of work while adding in four strikeouts and a pair of walks.
After the two-run homer from Sides in the top of the fifth inning, PBA’s Yogi Gunther got a rally started for PBA with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the frame with a two out walk then advanced to second-base on a wild pitch. Junior Travis Murray then smoked a ball up the middle that plated Gunther for a 4-2 Sailfish lead.
PBA added two more runs in the sixth inning as Natale led off the inning by blasting his first homerun of the season far over the left-field wall and Perla plated Taylor Kaprive on a suicide squeeze bunt single to push the advantage to 6-2 heading into the late innings.
Senior left-hander Graham White would relieve Thomas after six frames and retire the Seahawks in order in the seventh inning. White returned to the hill to start the eighth but ran into trouble as a catcher’s interference call and a double by Sides put two on with nobody out.
Sailfish head coach Gary Carter opted to make a move to his bullpen as Aaron Ilharreguy entered with runners on second and third. Robbie Jones greeted Ilharreguy with a sharp RBI single followed by a strikeout of Juan Quesada. Kevin Johnson then delivered a run-scoring single that plated Sides as the PBA lead dwindled to 6-4.
After a tapper back to Ilharreguy brought the inning to two outs, Joshua Leo stepped in and came through with a two-run single to tie the score.
Palm Beach Atlantic would retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning as Kaprive scored just ahead of the tag on a wild-pitch to move back ahead 7-6.
Northwood would remain hungry however as they were able to upend Sailfish closer Ethan Perla with the help of an error and a sacrifice fly to go to the ninth inning up 8-7.
That’s where the score would remain as a two-out walk to Gunther was all the Sailfish could muster as NU right-hander Chavez became the fifth NU pitcher to work as he collected his first save. J.D. Tyler was credited with the win after pitching the eighth inning while Perla was given the loss.
Gunther finished 2-for-3 with a pair of walks for PBA while Murray added in a 2-for-4 showing at the plate with a run batted in. Natale added two walks to his homerun while stealing three bases.