Sailfish Drop the NCCAA Regional Opener but Stay Alive With Game Two Win
May 10, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
JUPITER, Fla.- Needing a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team and head coach Gary Carter turned to freshman Christian Wonders on Tuesday afternoon on a sweltering day at the Roger Dean Complex. The Martin County native responded and combined with two other PBA pitchers on a 4-3 win over Emmanuel College after the Fish slipped up in their tournament opener by falling 3-2 to North Greenville University earlier in the day.
With the tournament going by NAIA rules that present only seven inning contests, the Fish knew they needed a strong start from their freshman right-hander in game two should they hope to continue playing baseball on Wednesday and hopefully beyond. A good start is exactly what they would receive as Wonders went 4.1 innings while allowing three runs and striking out four batters.
Fellow freshman Byron Skinner came on for a couple of key outs while sophomore Alejandro De Moya helped Skinner and the Fish escape a sixth inning jam by retiring the final out and then getting the final three outs in the seventh for his seventh save of the season.
De Moya worked around a one-out single in the seventh by the #5-seeded Lions as he took a comebacker and turned it into a 1-6-3 double-play to end the game in favor of the Fish.
Taylor Kaprive proved to be the big hitting hero in the game as he produced all four runs batted in on two separate two-run singles, the latter being with PBA trailing 3-2 in the sixth inning.
The Lions took a 2-0 lead by scoring one run in the first on a Chad Robinson RBI single in the first inning and then added on in the third inning on a Kelly Williams double.
Kaprive got the Sailfish back at 2-2 with Kaprive’s first two-run single that plated Brooks Fleming and Johnny Cole in the top of the fourth inning.
Emmanuel moved in front 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning as Chad Harris led off by being hit by a pitch then came around later on a sharp single from shortstop Alex Delgado.
Delgado finished 3-for-4 in the game with a run scored and his RBI as the Lions managed only six hits as a team.
Palm Beach Atlantic fared one better with seven hits led by Kaprive’s 2-for-3 while Yogi Gunther and Ethan Perla each contributed two hits. Perla reached base four times while walking twice also.
In game number one of the tournament for PBA, the #2-seeded Sailfish would take on defending NCCAA National Champion and NCAA Division II member, North Greenville University.
Both teams would send their aces to the hill with PBA’s Logan Thomas matched up against NGU right-hander Drew Provence. Both pitchers would shine amongst the steamy South Florida atmosphere as the game moved steadily along with neither pitcher running into much trouble.
PBA took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Perla delivered a two-out single up the middle that scored courtesy runner Michael Lyon.
Thomas would hold the NGU bats in check until the top of the fourth inning when they would take a 2-1 lead. The Crusaders started the inning with back-to-back singles from Adam Taylor and Derek Fulmer followed by another single to load the bases from David Frazier with nobody out.
Tyler Callicutt brought home the tying run on a sacrifice fly for out number one in the frame followed by a safety squeeze bunt RBI from Andrew Lawrence. Thomas would escape the inning with no further damage but the Crusaders would now hold the lead.
The Sailfish offense went back to work in the bottom of the fourth inning as they tied the score at 2-2 on a run-scoring single from Kaprive.
Things would remain tied until the top of the seventh when NGU put together what would be the game-winning rally. Callicutt started the inning with an infield single and then a potential double-play ball was mishandled by the PBA defense to put runners at the corners with nobody out.
Taylor Hollifield drove home the game-winner with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Provence retired the Sailfish in order in the bottom of the inning to improve to 8-1 on the season while Thomas drops to 2-4. Provence allowed only four hits while producing seven strikeouts.
Callicutt produced the only two-hit game for either team by finishing 2-for-2.
The Crusaders move on to face #1-seeded Southeastern University in a matchup of undefeated teams at 12 pm on Wednesday while PBA will take on Truett-McConnell College, the #4-seed in the tournament also at 12 pm in an elimination game. The PBA game will be broadcast on the Sailfish Sports Network.