Ninth Inning Eruption Gives Panthers and Easy Victory Over the Fish
February 29, 2008
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
JUPITER, Fla.- In what was a close contest entering the top of the ninth inning between the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team and Florida Tech quickly turned ugly as the Panthers scored seven runs in their last at-bat to put the game out of reach and down the Fish by a 14-4 final tally.
Now 11-4-1 on the season, FIT broke open a scoreless game in the top of the fifth with six runs to give them an early cushion. The Sailfish would cut that lead in half in their half of the fifth inning with three runs of their own.
A leadoff walk to speedy center-fielder Scott Urbanek (Weston, Fla.) put things in motion for PBA followed up by a single from senior Mariano Jimenez (Bradenton, Fla.). Junior outfielder Nick Norley (N. Palm Beach, Fla.) continued the hot hitting with a two-run double down the left-field line, scoring both Urbanek and Jimenez.
Zach Grau (Kalamazoo, Mich.) would then follow with another run-scoring hit as his single plated Norley after an error by the left-fielder. Not content at second-base, Grau quickly stole third-base setting up what looked like another potential run for the Fish.
That run would be spoiled however as a botched suicide squeeze play left Grau in a rundown in between third and home, eventually leaving the left-handed slugger high and dry.
After FIT tacked on another run in the top of the sixth on a Mitch Saum sacrifice fly RBI, it looked as if both pitching staffs had settled down entering the final frame.
That would not take place on this night however as FIT scored seven times in the ninth to put the game out of reach and spoil any Sailfish hopes of a ninth inning rally. A two-run single by Saum as well as a two-run double by Michael Demma highlighted the big inning for the Panthers while the Sailfish defensive effort also turned in two errors in the inning.
FIT catcher Kevin Villa produced top honors at the plate in game one as he finished 4-5 with two runs scored as well as a walk and an RBI. Demma and center-fielder Nick Brennan each registered three hits each with Brennan coming around to score three runs from the leadoff spot.
For the Sailfish, Jimenez and Grau paced the seven-hit attack with two hits each as the two seniors continue to lead the Fish from an offensive standpoint. Norley collected only one hit but did drive in three runs.
After a solid start to his outing which featured holding the Panthers to zero’s through the first four innings, PBA starter Issac Hicks (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied the loss as he allowed six earned runs while walking three and striking out three.
Freshman utility player Brett Richardson (Orlando, Fla.) continue his solid work from the bullpen with 2 1/3 innings of work while allowing only one earned run.
Jake Koch earned the victory for FIT after completing five innings and allowing three runs. Koch struck out five batters while also chipping in four base on balls.
PBA and FIT continue their weekend series tomorrow as the two teams will square off in Melbourne, Florida for a double-header that is slated to start at 12 pm on Saturday.