JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball struck first, but could not hold the lead in falling 13-7 to Indiana State on Saturday at John Sessions Stadium. The Dolphins (0-2) were doomed by a big third inning and drop the season opening series to the Sycamores (2-0).
Angel Camacho continued his strong start at the plate, going 4-4 and finishing a triple short of the cycle, while redshirt-freshman Brandon Dudley hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw of his career.
"We didn't play good baseball, we didn't play clean baseball," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We let that snowball on us a little bit in the third, we've got to do a better job of trying to keep that small."
The Dolphins struck first after not leading at all in the season opener. Ruben Someillan walked, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Scott Dubrule's RBI ground out. Camacho followed that up with his second solo home run in as many days.
The Sycamores quickly responded, plating two in the top of the second, when a leadoff single and a fielder's choice came home on a two-out, two-RBI single by Max Wright, part of a day in which the Indiana State catcher was not retired at the plate, reaching base all five times.
The big third inning saw 12 Indiana State players come to the plate and six of them score. JU starter Trent Palmer (0-1) was chased after surrendering all of those runs, seven of them earned, on just six hits in 2.1 innings. He also struck out three and hit one.
JU used seven relief pitchers to complete the game, and the combo of Jagger McCoy, Zach Bryant, Darien Smith and Kevin Faulkner held ISU scoreless over the next four innings. In the meantime, the Dolphins chipped into the lead when Camacho singled in Cory Heffron in the third, Dakota Julylia drove in Cory Garrastazu in the sixth and John Cassala knocked in Camacho in the seventh to cut the deficit to three.
A controversy ensued at the top of the eighth. Faulkner jogged back on the field after getting the final out of the seventh, but was called back before taking the mound. Ruairi Murphy then started to warm up before Indiana State protested that Faulkner should have to face a batter as he crossed the foul line. Rule 9.4.f states "When the game pitcher crosses the foul line on the way to the mound to start an inning, he shall pitch to the first batter until such batter is put out or reaches base, unless a pinch hitter is substituted or the batter or the pitcher sustains an injury or illness, which incapacitates him from continuing." Faulkner was forced to return, and Indiana State hit a solo home run to stretch the lead back to four.
From there, Indiana State added four more insurance runs in the ninth, while JU's TD Walker pinch hit a single in the bottom half setting up Dudley's long fly to left.
The Dolphins get one more chance against Indiana State tomorrow at 1 p.m. AJ Jones is scheduled to make his starting debut for JU. It is also "Young 'Phins Day", where kids get in free, get a voucher to the Con"Sessions" Stand and can run the bases after the game.