Sailfish Split Doubleheader with Eagles

Written By: Kennie Silvestri, Sports Information Assistant

Sophomore Hakeem Rhodes blasted his first career home run Saturday afternoon.  (Photo courtesy of Neil Hayes)Sophomore Hakeem Rhodes blasted his first career home run Saturday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Neil Hayes)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team split a double-header on Saturday afternoon against the Eagles of Embry-Riddle University, dropping the first game by a 6-1 final and winning the second game of the twin bill 18-12.

The Sailfish will return back to Palm Beach County to open up the home portion of the 2016 schedule next week as the ‘Fish will play host to Lynn University on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at Roger Dean Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.

Game 1: Embry-Riddle 6, Palm Beach Atlantic 1

The Sailfish jumped on Embry-Riddle starter Kenny Burkhead in the first inning as a Sean Visconti RBI single plated Sailfish freshman Bobby Brennan for the first run of the season. The lead didn’t hold long however, as the Eagles struck back in a big way in the bottom of the first off Sailfish starter Matt Picucci (Loss, 0-1), capitalizing on Sailfish defensive miscues and plating five runs in the frame.

The Sailfish collected 10 hits in the game, but the story of the game was the Eagle’s defense, as they turned four double plays that killed Sailfish scoring chances.

Brennan added a third inning double for a multi-hit performance, but was stranded at second after back-to-back Sailfish strikeouts. The Sailfish were unable to get another rally going until the ninth, when Ryan Johnson and Mac Hessney both singled to center-field before an Eagle strikeout ended the game.

Four Sailfish ended up with multiple hits, as Brennan, Johnson, and Hessney were joined by sophomore Kyle Simon’s two hit performance.

The Sailfish bullpen had another strong performance, as Senior Phil DiLandro fired two shutout innings not allowing any hits. Freshman Sam Shields made his Sailfish debut in the final innings, also throwing two scoreless frames.

Embry-Riddle starter Kenny Burkhead was impressive all afternoon as he didn’t allow a run after the first, and finished with 7 2/3 innings on the afternoon, throwing 114 pitches and scattering eight hits.

Game 2: Palm Beach Atlantic 18, Embry-Riddle 12

The final game of the weekend series was quite the opposite of the first two, as the two teams combined for 30 runs on 28 hits.

The Sailfish jumped on the board first again in game two, as Jake Summey walked and advanced to second on a Brennan sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Summey stole third successfully, and scored on an errant throw by the Eagles, which was the first of their six errors in the game.

After a three up three down inning by freshman Tyler Hawks, the Sailfish struck in the second, as Hakeem Rhodes blasted a towering homerun, easily clearing the Eagle scoreboard in left-center field. Jorge Bravo followed with his first hit of the season, and scored later in the frame on a Summey single. That wouldn’t be all for the ‘Fish, as Eddie Vicinanza came home on a sacrifice fly, expanding the Sailfish lead to 5-0.

The offensive theme continued, as the Eagles claimed five runs of their own in the second and third innings to tie the game up. In the fourth inning, Embry-Riddle would have a four hit inning and took an 8-5 lead that lasted until the Sailfish half of the sixth.

The PBA offense came alive in the sixth, plating six runs as Bravo led off with a single, and was followed by Julian Bilodeau and Eddie Vicinanza doubles which pulled the fish to within one. The other big hit in the frame came off the bat of Rhodes, as the sophomore laced a two-out, two-run single through the left side. The Sailfish also plated six runs in the seventh with the big blow coming off the bat of Sean Visconti. The junior hit his first career home run, a three-run blast to left that plated Brennan and Summey.

Dominic Monda (Win, 1-0) pitched 2 1/3 effective innings out of the pen, allowing three hits and only one run. Freshman Mitchell Carroll closed out the game for the ‘Fish, not allowing a hit and striking out one Eagle hitter.

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