Sailfish Rally Late to Knock Off Florida Tech on the Baseball Diamond

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications

Junior Nick Natale (Pictured) Guided the Sailfish with His Bat, his Glove, and his Arm on Tuesday with a 3-for-3 Showing Against Florida Tech Including a Triple, 2 Walks, and 2 Stolen Bases. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins. Junior Nick Natale (Pictured) Guided the Sailfish with His Bat, his Glove, and his Arm on Tuesday with a 3-for-3 Showing Against Florida Tech Including a Triple, 2 Walks, and 2 Stolen Bases. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.

Box Score

LAKE WORTH, Fla.- After a disappointing four games against Florida Tech during the 2010 season, the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team opted for a better showing in their debut contest of the season against FIT on Tuesday evening at Dave Manzo Field by winning a battle of the bullpens and securing an 8-4 victory. After being held to only two hits and no runs through four innings the Sailfish exploded for seven runs in the final four frames to tally their fifth consecutive win.

The loss for Florida Tech drops the Panthers to 5-3 on the season as the usually strong fundamental defense of the Panthers failed them on multiple occasions on Tuesday night to the tune of three unearned runs against starter Ronnie Oelerich.

On the other side, Sailfish starting pitcher Logan Thomas was dominating against the Panthers as the junior Melbourne, Florida native tallied 10 strikeouts in six innings of work before handing a 3-1 lead over to the bullpen.

Despite their best efforts, the Sailfish pen would not be able to hold on to that lead as FIT rallied against relievers Graham White and Jimmy Kelly in the top of the seventh inning.

White allowed a pair of singles with one out before striking out FIT centerfielder R.J. Coffman for the second out. Sailfish head coach Gary Carter opted for the right-handed Kelly out of the bullpen to square off against right-handed batter J.C. Clabough who promptly lined a two-run single into left-field to tie the score at 3-3. A Clabough stolen base would follow then came a John Fouchet RBI single that sent Clabough racing to the plate to score the go-ahead run.

Reliever Kenny Frosch would come on next for PBA and retire Gus Fernandez on a groundout.

Now trailing by a run instead of leading by two, the Fish went to work in the eighth inning, coming through with two big hits with two outs from a pair of freshman. First Brooks Fleming connected for a pinch-hit RBi single off FIT reliever Tyler Carman to tie the score at 4-4 followed by a RBI double from Jorge Chavarria to move ahead 5-4.

Frosch went back to work for a scoreless eighth inning while PBA added to their late-run heroics with Nick Natale cranking a two-run triple to the deepest part of center-field then the speedy Natale came home to score on an attempted pickoff play that sailed down the left-field line to move ahead 8-4.

Frosch closed the door in the ninth inning for his first win in a Sailfish uniform. In total the Pasco-Hernando Community College transfer tallied 2.1 innings of effective relief while allowing no runs and only two hits.

Natale finished 3-for-3 on the night with four runs scored that included a pair of singles, a triple, two walks, and two stolen bases to lead the offensive charge for PBA. Travis Murray concluded his evening 2-for-4 at the plate.

PBA will now prepare for a busy weekend on the road as they will take on Flagler College on Friday, February 18th for a 7 pm matchup then a split double-header on Saturday, February 19th against Flagler again at 1 pm and then against Limestone College at 4:30 pm, both at Flagler’s campus in St. Augustine, Florida. 

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