PBA Shocks Nationally-Ranked Barry with 10-Run Comeback and Walk Off Win
April 11, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
LAKE WORTH, Fla.- For the first five and a half innings nothing seemed to go right for the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team on Monday night at Dave Manzo Field as the heavy-hitting Barry University Buccaneers led 14-4 over the Fish and began inserting their reserves. Those subsequent moves along with some clutch PBA hitting allowed the Sailfish to chip away at the BU lead and eventually secure a 15-14 win when Taylor Kaprive came through with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Leading the Sunshine State Conference with a 13-2 mark and ranked No. 10 nationally in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Poll, the Buccaneers (27-11) were coming off an exciting series win over rival Nova Southeastern University over the weekend and had won 21 of their last 24 games.
One of the biggest hits of the night for Palm Beach Atlantic (22-14) came undoubtedly from junior Luis Mejia who delivered a three-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring the Fish within one run at 14-13 then later in the frame came a sacrifice fly from Justin Sizemore that tied the game as his fly ball to right-field scored Travis Murray.
Pinch-hitter Matt Civetti, the 15th player used in the game by PBA head coach Gary Carter, blasted a ball over Barry centerfielder Harold Holness that would have been a walk-off homerun in most parks but ended up as a stand-up triple that set the stage for Kaprive’s heroics. Playing against a draw-in infield with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, Kaprive fisted a T.J. Mullins (2-2) offering into short right-center and the ballgame was over as Civetti trotted home for the 15-14 final score.
Sailfish freshman Christian Wonders earned the starting assignment on the mound for PBA but struggled as BU rattled off 10 hits and seven runs (four earned) against Wonders as he was relieved after only 3.1 innings of work.
Things didn’t get much better for senior reliever Chad Volbert who allowed seven hits and five runs in his 1.2 innings of time that left the Bucs with 17 hits and 12 runs through five innings.
After BU senior starter Tyler King gave the Bucs five solid innings allowing four hits and four runs (two earned) he handed the baseball on to Matthew Garlock who would not retire any of the four batters he faced as he allowed one hit, walked two, and hit a batter as the Fish began their comeback.
Bucs head coach Mark Pavao would then make the move to 7’2” right-hander Frank Szczepanik in a bases-loaded, nobody out situation.
Freshman Sean Noland greeted Szczepanik in grand style by nearly hitting a grand slam as he settled for a two-run double that landed just shy of the wall in right-centerfield that got the Fish a bit closer at 14-7. Kaprive added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 14-8 entering the seventh inning.
Senior lefty Graham White came out of the pen for PBA and after allowing two unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning really settled into a groove and gave his teammates a chance to inch closer with the bats.
White worked all the way into the top of the ninth as he allowed only two hits in his 3.1 innings of work while striking out seven batters.
Meanwhile on the PBA side the runs continued to come home. After their four-run sixth inning, they would add two more runs in the seventh as Sizemore lifted a long fly ball to the wall in left that was dropped by the BU left-fielder while Jordan Carter brought another home on a RBI groundout to pull the score to 14-9.
Mejia’s three-run blast then came in the eighth followed by Sizemore’s big sac fly to tie the score at 14-14.
White worked into the top of the ninth as he retired the first batter on strikes then plunked BU first-baseman Dean Green with a breaking ball. Coach Carter made the move to left-hander Alejandro De Moya who took a comebacker from the bat of Matt Petty and fired it to shortstop Jorge Chavarria covering second-base for a tailor-made 1-6-3 double-play to end the inning.
De Moya earned his fourth win of the season as his team’s ninth inning heroics secured the win.
Mejia led Palm Beach Atlantic’s 12-hit attack with his 2-for-5 night including two runs scored and four driven in. Chavarria and Murray also both finished with a pair of hits with Murray scoring three times.
The Bucs were paced by some tremendous offensive performances. Leadoff man Drew Dwelly finished 4-for-6 including a pair of homeruns, four runs scored, and four driven in.
Three-time defending Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week Dean Green was 4-for-5 including a pair of doubles while Adrian English and Chris Leon each added in homeruns as well. Matt Petty finished 3-for-6.
The Sailfish will hope to take this momentum into an important three-game set this weekend against Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The two teams open up on Friday, April 15th at 6 pm then play a double-header on Saturday beginning at 1 pm.