Sailfish Stumble Out of the Gate to Start 2008 Baseball Season
February 1, 2008
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.- While the season certainly didn’t start out the way they had hoped, the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team don’t have long to think about their season opening defeat to Barry University as they finish out the season-opening series with the Buccaneers with two more games on Saturday.
Ranked fourth in the recent NCAA South region polls, Barry University proved their worth in both teams season opener by taking the nine inning opener by a final tally of 18-2.
Senior Owen Grau (Kalamazoo, Mich.) earned the starting nod for head coach Rob Avila on Friday night and worked in and out of trouble during the first three frames but only allowing two runs, both unearned. The right-hander would run into the heavy-hitting attack of the Bucs in inning number four as Barry totaled eight runs in the fourth, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Fish.
Grau finished the evening by allowing five runs in 3 2/3 innings of work with only three of the runs being charged to the right-hander. Struggling with his control from the onset, Grau could never quite get into a groove as he registered two walks while plunking three others. The Sailfish defense also contributed to the rough debut as PBA finished the night with five errors.
Right-hander Ray Rhoads (1-0) took the hill for the Bucs and performed well in his 2008 debut by tossing five innings to earn the win, finishing with a line of five hits allowed and only two runs while registering two strikeouts. Rhoads also added in four free passes in his five innings of work.
Bucs reliever Ray Riley came on for the unconventional four inning save while limiting the Fish to only three hits and zero runs while striking out one.
Freshmen Brett Richardson (Orlando, Fla.) and Billy Schmidt (Mount Dora, Fla.) both made their debuts for the blue and white on Friday evening as well with Richardson throwing an impressive two frames, allowing only one run and striking out three. Schmidt finished out the game on the hill for PBA by allowing only one earned run in two innings of game action.
A veteran lineup with many returning starters, the PBA starting nine didn’t exactly put forth their best overall performance in their debut but there were certainly areas of success, especially in the lower half of the order.
Senior shortstop Billy Falconio (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) reached base four times in his season debut with two hits and two walks while also scoring a run. Right fielder Nick Norley (N. Palm Beach, Fla.) also put together a solid showing in game number one with a 2-4 showing at the plate, while also adding in an outfield assist while gunning down a Buccaneers base runner trying to advance in the early innings.
The weekend slate with Barry will continue on Saturday as the Sailfish welcome back the Bucs for a pair of games with the first slated to start at 4 pm. The first contest will be a nine inning game followed up by a seven inning game.