Baseball2009 NCAA Men's College World Series
NCAA Gainesville Regional
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Alfred A. McKethan Stadium
Game 3 - Jacksonville 8, Bethune-Cookman 7
Sophomore second baseman Chuck Opachich hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth while sophomore Chris Kaminski and junior Kyle Kriech teamed up to lead the JU baseball team to an 8-7 win over Bethune-Cookman, Saturday afternoon in the second day of the NCAA Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium.
JU (37-21) tallied its first win in the postseason since a 4-3 victory over Sacred Heart on June 3, 2006. B-CU (32-28) lost its second consecutive game by a score of 8-7 in Gainesville and fell to 0-4 against the Dolphins this season.
After the Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to even up the game, 7-7, Opachich hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth to put JU up for good.
“Mervyl Melendez needs a lot of credit for what he has done at Bethune-Cookman and I mean that from the heart,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “We missed a lot of opportunities early to blow the game open and Bethune battled back to tie things up. Fortunately for us, Chuck came up with a big hit and our bullpen was able to close things out.”
Kaminski (5-1) got the win after hurling 2.1 innings of scoreless relief in which he struck out five batters. Kriech entered the game with runners on first and second with two outs and struck out pinch-hitter Peter O’Brien looking to notch his first career save. Sophomore Matt Loosen got the no-decision after allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Edgar Serra (1-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on two hits with a walk and a strike out in 0.2 innings of relief. Ali Simpson also got the no-decision after allowing five runs on five hits with four walks in two innings of work.
Along with Opachich, senior left fielder Kyle Fleming went 3-for-4 while catcher Jeremy Gillan went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Junior first baseman Alex Martinez finished 2-for-3 with a home run and senior right fielder Thomas Myers added a two-run homer.
Alejandro Jimenez led the Wildcats by finishing a game-high 4-for-4 with a double, a triple and a home run. C.J. Lauriello went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI.
The Dolphins took a 1-0 lead in the first when Gillan hit an RBI double. With one out, sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins hit a single to right center and then came home on a deep drive to left center by Gillan.
The Wildcats took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the first when Lauriello hit a two-run homer to left field with one out.
JU made it 2-2 when Opachich hit a sacrifice fly. Fleming, sophomore Chris Connelly and sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson each drew a walk to lead off the inning. Opachich followed with a high fly to left to plate Fleming.
BC-U took a 4-2 lead in the second when Jimenez and Drew Clark each hit a solo homer down the right-field line.
The Dolphins answered with five runs on three hits in the top of the third to take a 7-4 lead. Gillan was hit by a pitch to lead of the inning before Myers hit a towering shot over the center field wall to even up the contest. Martinez followed with a monster shot over the left-field wall and then sophomore designated hitter Alex Swenson drew a walk. After Swenson stole second, Connelly drew a walk with one out. With two outs, Opachich cleared the bases with a double into the left-field corner.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth when pinch hitter Jeremy Davis drove in a run with a grounder to second.
B-CU threatened with a lead off triple in the bottom of the sixth but Loosen got Chris Brown and Clark to strike out looking before getting Aaron Patterson to pop out to second to end the inning.
The Wildcats evened things up, 7-7, in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Durrance hit a two-run single back up the middle. B-CU had runners on second and third with two outs but Kaminski got Chris Brown to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Jacksonville Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Terry Alexander
“Well I’m certainly very happy to win. You can’t say enough about Bethune-Cookman and their efforts last night and bouncing back today. They fought very hard. Mervyl (Melendez) needs a lot of credit. He’s done a great job there and that comes from the heart. The difference in the ballgame was we were able to draw some walks, get some hits. We left some guys on base in the beginning and that can come back and haunt you. We battled through it even when they tied it up. We jumped back with a big home run by Chuck. That was run was a huge one for us and it was hot.”
On making a pitching change that took Bethune-Cookman’s Alejandro Jimenez out:
“He’s (Jimenez) worn us out for a couple of years. This isn’t the first time we’ve played against him. He’s a guy that is certainly a deep threat. We weren’t comfortable throwing a slider to a lefty, so we wanted to change that up.”
“We haven’t been in sync, but we battled through some situations. We left runners on base and didn’t score. We hit into two double plays early and could have taken a commanding lead with opportunities, but didn’t. That forced us into pitching out of the situations to negate it. I’m happy with that.”
#10 Chuck Opachich
On his game-winning home run
“He was attacking me with sliders. He threw three sliders in a row. I saw it well and it worked out.”
On his two home runs this season;
“I don’t know where it’s coming from. My job is to hit singles and doubles and steal bases. Both my home runs this season were key and tied the games.”
#9 Chris Kaminski
“I thought we played very well. It was basically a team effort. We were down by two when I came in today. We got it to a tie and Chuck came in and got the game-winning home run, after that, I pitched, did what I had to do and then Kyle came in and saved me so I could get the win.”
On the depth of the Jacksonville bullpen:
“We have a lot of people in our pen. We’re really deep. There are many other guys in our bullpen that haven’t thrown that are very good. We have good depth in our bullpen.”
#44 Kyle Kriech
On his performance and save:
“I was coming in for our closer, so I had big shoes to fill. I helped Chris out to get the win and get the first save of my career.”
Bethune-Cookman Post-Game Quotes
Head Coach Mervyl Melendez
“By the start of the game and intensity that we showed, I honestly thought we had taken control of the game. I thought Ali Simpson was going to give us better outing. I felt good about us going early and putting pressure on them to answer the call. Simpson wasn’t sharp today. I think that decided the game there after they scored those five runs. That really changed the momentum of the game. We were aggressive. There were three or four innings that we didn’t do much offensively because we just sat on our heels a little too much because of what happened defensively earlier.”
On this season and what Bethune-Cookman has accomplished:
“I know our program is very good. What we’ve done at Bethune-Cookman is very special. We make no excuses for what we did here this weekend. Our guys fought hard, played, battled to the end. We came up short. We scored 14 runs in two games, but the reality is we didn’t finish.”
#1 C.J. Lauriello
“We fought back and everybody gave it their all. Our pitching didn’t really hold up like we wanted it to, but everybody gave it their best effort and that’s the best we can do.”
On whether losing to Florida in Game 2 carried over to Game 3:
“We put that behind us. We take one game at a time and that’s what our focus was today. We came out here today with a fresh mindset. Jacksonville is a different team. We fought hard. We think we can play any body and beat anybody.”
· Today’s victory was the 10th NCAA Tournament win for the Dolphins and their first since a 4-3 win over Sacred Heart at the 2006 NCAA Regional in Athens, Georgia, on June 3, 2006. It’s the first-ever victory for Jacksonville in an NCAA Regional in Gainesville.
· Jacksonville improves to 47-8 (.855) all-time against the Wildcats, including 4-0 this season. In the four games against the Wildcats this season, the Dolphins are averaging 8.0 runs per game. This is the first time since 2001 where both the Dolphins and Wildcats played each other in the NCAA Regional, with the Dolphins winning the last contest, 3-0, on May 26, 2001, at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
· The save today by Kyle Kriech gives the Dolphins 13 saves on the season, tying them for eighth-most in school history in a single season.
· With his eight strikeout performance today, Matt Loosen now has 90 strikeouts this season, moving him into sole possession for ninth-place all-time in school history for a single season.
· Chuck Opachich’s solo shot in the eighth inning gave him 89 hits this season, moving him into a tie for fifth-place all time in single-season hits in school history. This postseason, Opachich is 5-for-16 (.313) seven RBI, three runs and a stolen base. His four RBI today were a season high.
· Jeremy Gillan’s double in the first moved the catcher into a tie for ninth-most doubles in a single-season in school history with 21 two-baggers. Over his last 12 games, Gillan is 16-for-45 (.356) with 14 RBI, six runs, five doubles and two home runs. During his last four games, Gillan is 8-for-17 (.471) with six RBI and three doubles.
· Jacksonville’s 14 total strikeouts (439) against Bethune-Cookman moved this year’s pitching staff past the 2000 team (435) for fourth-place all-time in school history for strikeouts in a season.
· During his 2009 postseason campaign, Kyle Fleming is batting .500 (9-for-18) with four runs, three RBI and two doubles.
· Jacksonville improves to 12-4 versus in-state opponents over its last 16 in-state games.
· The Dolphins have outscored their opponents 64-39 in the fourth inning this season.
· The win was Jacksonville’s first neutral-site triumph of the year. The Dolphins improve to 30-1 when scoring six runs or more, 25-2, when leading after six innings, and 26-3 when they outhit their opponents.
· Jacksonville is now 14-4 when scoring in the first inning, 12-5 in one-run games, 11-4 when hitting two or more home runs and 4-0 when tied after seven.
· Alejandro Jimenez’ 4-for-4 performance today tied his career-high four hits, set back on March 25, 2007, versus Florida A&M. The junior finished the game with a home run, triple, single, two runs, one RBI and a stolen base.
· The 14 total runs scored in the regional by the Wildcats were their most since putting up 15 total in a span of three games in the 2002 NCAA Gainesville Regional.
· The seven runs scored against Jacksonville were the most runs scored against a non-conference opponent since putting up seven runs against Stetson on April 28 of this year.
· The Wildcats falls to 2-8 in one-run games this year, and have now lost consecutive one-run games for the third time this season, and for the first time in their NCAA Tournament history.
· Drew Clark is 12-for-27 (.444) his last 13 games, with nine RBI, three home runs and a double. Clark has now homered in three-consecutive games, including a span of dingers in three of four at bats. The catcher is the only Wildcat to go yard in three-straight games this year.
· The back-to-back home runs Ali Simpson surrendered in the third inning were the first long balls allowed by the freshman in his 75.1 career innings pitched. The freshman All-American candidate entered today’s game on a seven-game winning streak with the second-lowest ERA of all freshmen pitchers in the country. The left hander had given up just eight extra-base hits prior to today’s start.
· In his last two appearances, Samuel Rodriguez has allowed just two earned runs on two hits, while striking out 14 in 9.1 innings pitched. Rodriguez was making his first appearance since May 6 versus North Florida.
· This is the first time since 2001 where both the Wildcats and Dolphins played each other in the NCAA Regional, with Jacksonville winning the last contest, 3-0, on May 26, 2001, at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
· Covering the last five games, Ryan Durrence is batting .435 (10-for-23) with 13 RBI, six runs, two home runs and two doubles.
· During the last 21 games, C.J. Lauriello is hitting .465 (33-for-71), with 31 runs, 20 RBI, eight doubles and four home runs.
· In his two appearances this tournament, Felix Machado gave up zero runs over 3.0 innings, scattering just three hits.
· Over his last four NCAA Tournament games, Mark Brooks is 5-for-15 (.333) with three RBI, two runs and a triple.
· In his past 15 games, Emmanuel Castro is 23-for-49 (.469) with 13 RBI, 10 runs and six doubles.
· Castro is 7-for-17 (.412) with two runs, two doubles and an RBI over his last four NCAA Tournaments games.