Huge Comeback Effort Falls Just Short for Sailfish as Eckerd College Hits Walk-Off Homerun

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

Jeff Moyer (Picttured) Smashed Two Homeruns for the Sailfish on Friday Night Including a Three-Run Shot in the Ninth Inning to Give PBA the Lead. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Jeff Moyer (Picttured) Smashed Two Homeruns for the Sailfish on Friday Night Including a Three-Run Shot in the Ninth Inning to Give PBA the Lead. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- Trailing 11-1 into the late innings, the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team came storming back on Friday evening against Eckerd College at Turley Field in the first of the scheduled three-game series between the two teams. With ten runs scored over the last four frames to send the game into extra innings, the Sailfish hopes of a historic comeback were dashed when EC freshman Oliver Killoren delivered a one-out solo homerun to give the Tritons the victory.

Down but certainly not out, the Sailfish (2-14) trailed early as starting pitcher Buddy Fisher was unable to follow up last weeks’s solid performance against #1-ranked Lynn University with a good one on Friday night as he was tagged for six hits, eight runs (six earned), while walking five batters and striking out none.

Four PBA relievers would follow Fisher including another solid outing from sophomore Chad Volbert who limited the Tritons to five hits and no runs over 3.2 innings while Graham White and Billy Schmidt each followed Volbert from the bullpen.  The loss was credited to Schmidt who gave up the walk-off homerun to Killoren.

PBA got things going in the first-inning as Nick Norley was hit by a pitch and after stealing a base came around to score on a RBI single from Vasilios Mila.

Over the next few innings the Sailfish would be held in check on offense as EC starter Jay Moroff logged four scoreless innings before running into trouble once again in the sixth inning.

Tony Livelsberger led off the sixth inning with a single followed by a two-run homer from Mila. After another scoreless inning by the PBA bullpen  in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Fish went back to work on chipping away at the Tritons lead. Still facing Moroff, Jeff Moyer connected for a one out double and then came in to score on Mila’s second two-run homerun in as many innings giving the junior second-baseman now four on the season. Newcomer Neil Hardon made it back-to-back as he lifted his first homerun of the season out of the park which ended the day for Moroff.

Moving on to the eighth inning, the first two PBA hitters were retired and up stepped Moyer who smashed a solo homerun off of EC reliever Chris Dvorscak.

Now trailing 12-7 entering the ninth inning, things appeared bleak for the Fish as the first two batters were retired and left the Fish down to their final out. Things got somewhat crazy from there.

Keith Clabaugh started the rally with an infield single followed by an RBI double from newcomer John Marks. Junior Mike Eissey would follow as a pinch hitter and deliver with an RBI single that cut the lead to 12-9. After a pitching change by Eckerd brought in Fransisco Collarzo, the Sailfish were still down to their final out. Collarzo was greeted by an infield single from Norley and then a game-tying three-run homerun from Moyer that left Sailfish fans breathless as his three-run shot  pushed the game to 12-11 in the favor of PBA.

After such a collapse, the Tritons must be given credit as they would now be forced to come through with a comeback. Facing first left-hander Graham White Billy, EC rallied for a game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth as Tyler Howard began the inning with an infield single. Howard moved up 90 feet on the next play as Matt Abraham laid down a sacrifice bunt. Howard would move up to third on a wild pitch.

After a walk and then a pop up to the pitcher, it appeared as if the Sailfish may come away with the victory. After another walk, head coach Rob Avila made a pitching change to Schmidt who proceeded to walk another runner to force the game-tying run in. A groundball out ended the inning with the scored tied at 12-12.

After a scoreless top of the tenth for Palm Beach Atlantic and Schmidt retiring the first batter of the tenth inning on a groundout, Killoren stepped in and connected for the game-winning homerun.

Moyer and Mila came through with the biggest performances for PBA with each hitting two homeruns. Moyer finished 3-for-6 with four RBI’s while Mila was 3-for-6 as well with five RBI’s.

Abraham was the biggest standout for EC as the leadoff batter for the Tritons was 4-for-4 with three RBI’s. Howard was also 3-for-5 with three runs driven in.    

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