JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball used a strong start from Trent Palmer, combined with solid relief and timely hitting to win 5-2 over Jacksonville State on Saturday at John Sessions Stadium.
The Dolphins (2-3) took the series, the first series win of the year, over the Gamecocks (2-4) and go for the sweep tomorrow.
"It was good to see, in a new role for Trent, that he was able to go out there and allow our offense to put together some good at-bats and we had some fortunate situations throughout the game," said Head Coach Chris Hayes.
Palmer (1-1) set the tone early, striking out two of his career-high tying seven in the first inning. He did not allow a hit in six strong innings, with only two Gamecocks reaching base against him, both via walks. At one point he sat down 15 Jacksonville State hitters in a row.
"Watching Tyler Santana yesterday, I saw that he mixed, he was able to throw breaking balls int he zoen for strikes," said Palmer. "What worked for him might as well work for me and we duplicated it."
The Dolphins on offense threatened, but did not break through until the fourth. John Cassala led off the inning with a single to left and Cory Garrastazu was hit-by-a-pitch trying to bunt him over. Jacob Southern drew a walk to load them up, and Duncan Hunter singled to right to drive in the first run of the day. Two batters later, Dakota Julylia hit the ball to short, but it went under the glove of JSU's shortstop Isaac Alexander and two runs came into score and it was 3-0.
JU tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and the eighth.
Jacksonville State only threatened once on the day, when reliever Austin Temple hit and walked the first two batters he faced. A single to right then scored one, but Garrastazu picked up the outfield assist, throwing out Naismith as he tried to stretch it into a double. Two more nice defensive plays later, and the Dolphins were out of the inning having only surrendered two runs.
Chris Mauloni pitched the eighth and ninth innings, allowing one hit and fanning two to earn his first save of the year.
Jacksonville goes for its first sweep of the year tomorrow afternoon at noon, with threatening weather moving first pitch up one hour.