Sailfish Falls Narrowly Short in Double-Header Baseball Action at Nova Southeastern
April 14, 2012
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team returned to the Nova Southeastern University Baseball Complex on Saturday afternoon for a pair of games versus the Sharks one night after dropping a heart-breaking 2-1 decision in 10 innings to the No. 8-ranked team in the country. Although their losses came in much less dramatic fashion the Fish were still stung with a pair of tight defeats on Saturday as the Sharks came away with 7-5 and 3-2 wins to sweep the weekend series.
Both games featured the Fish having base-runners on in the final inning with a chance to tie or go-ahead however the Sharks pitchers won the battle this time around as they retired the Fish and eliminated their chances of pulling off a series victory.
The losses for PBA drop them below .500 for the first time this season as they now stand at 16-17 while the Sharks continue to roll with a 27-6 overall mark.
Sailfish starting pitcher T.J. Harbuck would not make it through the first inning as he was touched for two earned runs on one hit and three walks as he exited due to injury.
Andres Lopez would enter as the first of six PBA relievers as they hoped to keep the NSU offense at bay while their own offense would have a chance at a comeback.
After Lopez settled down the rally, senior Jeremiah Cothiere would enter and throw the following 1.1 innings of work as he allowed three earned run on three hits, two walks and two strikeouts.
A Chris Morales 2-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning off Cothiere gave the Sharks a 4-0 lead while Areo Regoli added in a RBI single of his own to push the early lead to 5-0.
Palm Beach Atlantic would draw closer in the top of the sixth inning as Travis Murray delivered a RBI single before Nova Southeastern answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to an Alex Marrero RBI single followed later in the frame by a Brett Clements run-scoring double.
The NSU lead would improve to 7-1 on Clements double.
PBA began to make their comeback a reality in the seventh as the Fish chased Nova starter Cody Stiles. A bases-loaded walk to Justin Sizemore forced in a run before the pitching change to reliever Kenny Miranda who allowed two runs to come in to score on a Sharks fielding error.
With the PBA bullpen putting up zeroes thanks to the good work of Robbie Pettet, Kenny Frosch, Peter Graffeo and Alejandro De Moya, the Sailfish bats would get their chance.
Facing lefty Mauricio Rodriguez in the ninth, the Fish received another RBI hit from Murray before pinch-hitter Johnny Cole was retired on a strikeout to end game one.
Stiles went 6.2 innings to earn the win as the right-hander allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits, five walks and five strikeouts. Rodriguez picked up his third save.
The Sailfish managed seven hits with Matt Perkowski going 3-for-4 with three runs scored from the leadoff position while Murray was 2-for-5 with two runs batted in.
Nic Kovacs went to the hill in game two for PBA and hoped to give the Fish and their bullpen a lift with a solid performance.
He and NSU starter Mike Gonzalez (3-0) appeared on their way to a rematch of the pitcher’s duel seen in game one of the series by holding the game scoreless into the fourth inning.
Kovacs would be the first to crack as he allowed three runs to score in the bottom of the fourth as the first five hitters of the inning reached base including a 2-run single from NSU first-baseman Javi Sujo followed later in the frame by a sacrifice fly by catcher Ryan Woodrey.
It wouldn’t be until the top of the seventh that the PBA lineup would cross homeplate as NSU closer Sean Tighe ran into some wildness as he allowed the first four PBA hitters to reach including two hit-by-pitch.
With the bases-loaded, Brooks Fleming was drilled which brought in the first run for PBA followed a batter later by a Nick Natale sacrifice fly to cut the NSU lead to 3-2.
With a runner still at first-base, Cole would pinch-hit again and unfortunately ground into a game-ending double-play as the Sharks escaped the seventh inning trouble.
Gonzalez was solid for six innings of work as he scattered five hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Tighe picked up his second save.
Kovacs drops to 4-3 on the season by going the first four innings with three runs allowed on seven hits, one walk and two punchouts.
The PBA bullpen once again did a solid job with De Moya, Lopez and Frosch all contributing.
Sizemore finished 2-for-3 with a run scored for Palm Beach Atlantic.
The Fish will take on another Sunshine State Conference team in their next outing as they will battle Lynn University on Tuesday, April 17th in Boca Raton. The two teams will resume a suspended game from earlier in the season beginning at 2 pm followed directly after by a regularly-scheduled contest.