Resilient Effort Falls Short for PBA Against No. 2 UT in Double Header
March 21, 2015
Written By: Kyler Ludlow, Sports Information Director
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Palm Beach Atlantic baseball and the University of Tampa locked in a pair of epic battles on Saturday, with the Spartans sweeping the day with a 3-1 win in game one and a 14-13 victory in a marathon game two.
PBA got another stellar pitching performance against the Spartans in the day’s opener, but was unable to muster any offense against Tampa’s starter. Kyle Polaski (Loss, 3-1) pitched into the seventh inning, scattering seven hits and allowing just two earned runs along the way.
UT broke the seal on the scoreboard with a run in the fifth inning thanks to a bloop double down the left field line that scored a runner from first. The visitors tacked another run in the top of the seventh, but that’s when Palm Beach Atlantic’s offense worked out a run.
Andrew Calderone singled up the middle to start the inning, and after a flyout, Ryan Johnson also singled to put two runners aboard. A new Spartans pitcher came in and advanced the runners with a passed ball, and Pat Kane hit a sacrifice fly to right field to cut the deficit in half. PBA would get no closer, however, with Hakeem Rhodes grounding into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Tampa tacked on a key insurance run in the top of the ninth, and the Spartans’ closer would slam the door in the bottom of the inning, retiring the side in order.
Palm Beach Atlantic was led at the plate by Sean Visconti, who smacked three base hits and finished the game 3-for-3. Brian Walker added a 2-for-4 performance at the plate for the ‘Fish.
With the offense lacking in the opening game of the double-dip, both teams bust out the bats in a big way in the nightcap. It started in the first inning with Tampa putting three runs on the board against PBA’s starting pitcher.
What would become a theme for the night, Palm Beach Atlantic charged back with three runs of their own in the home half of the inning. Pat Kane got the inning started with a single, and Chris Farrell walked to put two aboard with one away. Peter Rivera launched a double down the left field line to score the first run of the inning, and Brian Walker followed with a two-run single into centerfield to knot the score at 3-3.
Tampa worked their advantage out to three again with a single run in the third and two more runs in the fourth, but once again the Sailfish refused to go away. The Sailfish saw themselves with the bases loaded and two away with singles by Walker, Julian Bilodeau and Jake Summey putting runners on every base. Kane worked a walk after falling down in the count early to score the first run, and Sean Visconti smacked a single back up the middle to score two more and tie the score back up at 6-6.
Things turned the way of the Sailfish in the bottom of the seventh, when a strange play off the bat of Walker resulted in a run coming home and giving PBA a 7-6 lead. They’d go on to add another insurance run in the eighth when Visconti came through again with a sacrifice fly that scored Ryan Johnson and made the game 8-6.
Unfortunately for the Sailfish, the Spartans charged right back and scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to send the game to extras.
With all the momentum on their side, UT struck for three runs off of reliever Eric Russell and took a commanding 11-8 lead.
Showing their resilience once again, Palm Beach Atlantic rallied with one out. After a Summey single started the frame Kane quickly followed with a fielder’s choice groundout. Visconti smacked a double down the left field line and set up runners on second and third for Farrell. The senior promptly smacked a single to right field that brought home Kane and put runners on the corners.
With Hakeem Rhodes at the plate, the Spartans’ pitcher uncorked a wild one that brought home Visconti and moved Farrell to second. Hakeem followed with a single to left field that once again put runners on the corners and only one away. Walker followed with a slow chopper to the left side that the third baseman opted to try to get a speeding Farrell down the third base line. Farrell ran in safe and the Sailfish were set with two on and only one away.
Unfortunately the luck would run out there, as the next two Sailfish went down on strikes to end the inning.
With Phil DiLandro (Loss, 0-2) tossing his third inning, Tampa rallied with one out thanks to a single, walk, and wild pitch. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, the Spartans’ Brett Jones drove home two with a single to right field. After a sacrifice fly the Sailfish were looking once again at a three-run deficit.
Once again refusing to quit, Palm Beach Atlantic threatened in the bottom of the 13th, getting an RBI single from Robbie Pettet to make the score 14-12. With runners at first and second, Brian Walker loaded the bases up with an infield hit. Andrew Calderone skied a ball to centerfield that scored Farrell, but another Sailfish strikeout would end the chance at another comeback.
Visconti continued his strong play at the plate in game two, going 4-for-6 with three RBI, two runs scored and a walk, while freshman Jake Summey led the way with a 5-for-7 performance out of the bottom of the order. Walker finished the game with three hits and four runs batted in, while Kane, Farrell, Rivera and Bilodeau all had two hits. Pettet, a pitcher by trade, went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Palm Beach Atlantic returns to action on Tuesday evening when they welcome Barry University to town for a 6:00 pm start from Rubin Park.