Sailfish Stumble Out of the Gate at NCCAA National Tournament
May 20, 2009
Written by: PBA Sports Information Director, Michael Brown
MASON, Ohio- The Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team opened up play at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) World Series at Prasco Park on Wednesday morning and after a pitcher’s duel the first four innings left both teams scoreless, the #9-seeded Sailfish were upended by #8-seed Geneva College as they plated four runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to hold on for a 6-1 victory in round one.
The Sailfish now find themselves in a tough position of trying to work their way back through the loser’s bracket as they will face the loser of #4-seed Bluefield College and #5-seed Olivet Nazarene University in an elimination game on Thursday at 10 am.
After sweeping through the NCCAA South Regional a few weeks ago with double-digit runs in all three of their games, the Sailfish bats came out a bit rusty on Wednesday as Geneva right-hander Derek Sumner went the distance on the mound while limiting the Fish to just four hits.
Those four hits came from the bats of senior Nick Norley and junior Scott Urbanek as both players collected two hits. Norley scored PBA’s lone run which came in the sixth inning when Neil Hardon’s popup was mishandled by the Golden Tornadoes shortstop and allowed Norley to come in to score.
Taylor McBath (3-4) earned the opening round start on the hill for head coach Rob Avila’s squad and despite the first four frames being shutout innings, he ran into serious trouble in the fifth inning.
After striking out the first batter of the inning, McBath surrendered a double to his counterpart Sumner was also hitting in the GC lineup. After a sharp single by Justin McGurgan put runners at the corners, it was first-baseman Justin Acosta who laid down a perfect push bunt up the first-base line that allowed pinch-runner Lucas Zimmerman to come in for the game’s first run.
Up next stepped NCCAA All-American Tadd Eyster who promptly lifted a McBath offering over the left-field fence for a three-run homerun that gave the Golden Tornadoes a 4-0 cushion. McBath finished the inning with a pair of strikeouts that gave him five strikeouts on the day while allowing six hits, four runs, and one walk in five innings.
GC added in a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning off PBA reliever Martin Suarez as they utilized two hit batters and a pair of RBI singles by the likes of McGurgan and Acosta respectively to reach their final six run tally.
Acosta proved very valuable in the game out of the nine slot as he was 3-for-3 with two runs driven in and one run scored. Eyster finished 2-for-4 with three RBI’s and a run scored from the leadoff spot.
Sumner worked both sides of the plate effectively on his way to allowing only four hits, one unearned run, while striking out six and walking one in seven strong innings of work.
Stay tuned for continuing coverage of the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball team as they compete at the NCCAA World Series from Mason, Ohio.