Sailfish and Chargers Split in Saturday Double-Header to Conclude Busy Week on the Diamond

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

Nick Natale (Pictured) Gave the Sailfish a 4-for-5 Showing in Game One of PBA's Double-Header with the University of New Haven on Saturday. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Nick Natale (Pictured) Gave the Sailfish a 4-for-5 Showing in Game One of PBA's Double-Header with the University of New Haven on Saturday. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

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LAKE WORTH, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team welcomed in the University of New Haven on Saturday afternoon at Dave Manzo Field for a double-header in what would be the sixth and seventh games for the Sailfish over the last week. After coming from behind to take game one by a 6-4 final, the Sailfish would be upended by the Chargers in the nightcap as UNH earned a 9-6 victory in the seven inning contest.

A strong point all season for Palm Beach Atlantic (16-8) has been their starting pitching but Saturday would witness both Jeremiah Cothiere and T.J. Harbuck struggle to make it out of the fourth inning in each game as the Fish would have to rely on their bullpen to carry them down the stretch.

The Chargers (5-1) would jump on the Fish for three runs in the top of the second inning in game one as they loaded the bases with nobody out and then saw a two-run single from Stephen Clout bring home the game’s first runs. A groundball double-play would bring home another run to stake UNH starter Peter Jay to an early 3-0 advantage.

After a scoreless first two frames the Fish would get on the board with a pair of runs coming home to score in the bottom of the third inning when junior Luis Mejia smoked a two-run double down the left-field line to cut into the Charger’s lead at 3-2.

It appeared as if the Chargers would be primed to bust the game open in the top of the fifth inning however as they loaded the bases with nobody out. Palm Beach Atlantic would make a pitching change as reliable lefty Kenny Frosch would emerge. After walking the first batter he faced to load the bases, Frosch would proceed to strike out the next three batters to keep the Chargers at bay.

PBA would push across the tying and then go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as freshman Johnny Cole laced a two-run single that plated both Mejia and Nick Natale to move in front 4-3.

The Chargers would tie things up once again at four runs apiece in their next at-bat as a two-out error by the Fish defense would allow the tying run to score.

Palm Beach Atlantic came through again however in the seventh inning as Mejia and Murray each singled to start the frame then a pinch-hit sacrifice fly from Yogi Gunther plated the go-ahead run. A bloop, pinch-hit double by Justin Sizemore then allowed another run to score at PBA led 6-4.

PBA reliever Christian Wonders would run into trouble in the top of the eighth inning as the first two hitters he would face would come through with singles. The following play would turn out to be a pivotal play in the game as UNH third-baseman Tom Rombilus would hit a groundball through the Sailfish defense that would look to plate a run only to see the base-runner called out for missing third base.

Lefty Alejandro De Moya would then be inserted into the game for the second-straight day and retire the final batter of the inning on strikes.

De Moya closed out the Chargers with a one-two-three ninth inning, finishing with three strikeouts in four batters faced for his second save of the season.

Natale finished 4-for-5 in game one with a pair of runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Mejia added in another two-hit performance with two runs scored and two runs driven in while Cole finished with a pair of RBI’s.

Frosch earned the win in relief with a solid appearance of three inning pitched including three hits allowed, no earned runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Eric Peck took the loss for UNH as one of five hurlers to throw for the Chargers.

Game two would feature one big inning by each team as the Fish plated six runs in the second inning followed by a six-run frame for the Chargers in the top of the fourth inning.

PBA managed five hits in the second inning including a run-scoring single by Gunther, a sacrifice fly from Ismael Cotto, a wild pitch that scored a run, and a RBI single from Natale. Mejia capped the big inning with a two-run single that scored Jorge Chavarria and Taylor Kaprive.

Now staked with a 6-0 lead, Harbuck went back to work for the Fish as the redshirt-sophomore allowed only two hits and no runs through three innings. Harbuck would run into serious trouble in the fourth inning however as the New Haven bats finally came alive.

The big hits in the inning including a RBI triple from Jack Heary, a RBI single from Chris DeMorais, a two-run triple from Clout, as well as a run-scoring single from Ryan Brockett.

Jimmy Kelly would put out the fire with a fly out to end the inning but the damage had been done as the Chargers tied the game at 6-6.

Kelly would keep the Fish in the game as he tossed the next 2.2 innings while striking out four batters and not allowing a run.

Senior Graham White would enter in the top of the seventh inning with one out and then allow an infield single and a hit-by-pitch. After both players moved up on a wild-pitch, DeMorais lofted a 3-1 offering from White over the right-field fence for a crushing blow, a three-run homer that gave the Chargers their first lead of the game at 9-6.

That’s where things would remain as Mitch Rossi nailed down his second save of the season with a scoreless seventh inning to earn the split for New Haven. Taylor Candage would earn the win in relief of Alex Smith as Candage allowed only one hit and no runs in his 1.2 innings of work. Rossi tallied a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh.

White took the loss for PBA, his first of the season to drop to 2-1.

Gunther led the hitting efforts for Palm Beach Atlantic in game two with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate with a run scored.

Shane O’Connell finished 3-for-3 with two runs scored for UNH while DeMorais had four runs batted in for the day as he went 2-for-4.

After their busy Spring Break week that featured seven games, the Sailfish will be off during the next several days as they  will begin preparations for a weekend slate with St. Michael’s College. The two teams will open up on Friday, March 18th at 6 pm at the Santaluces Complex then come back for another game on Saturday, March 19th for another game at Santaluces.

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