JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 16-7 win and its first season sweep of the year.
JU (3-3) scored in five of nine innings and led the whole way against Jacksonville State (2-5) on Sunday at John Sessions Stadium.
"The message to the team last night was we have to come out and play well early," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "To get up six early flipped the script from where we were last weekend so that was nice to see."
Jacksonville put up a four spot in the first and never looked back. Ruben Someillan worked an eight pitch walk and Dakota Julylia was hit by a pitch to set up Scott Dubrule's two-run double. Angel Camacho clubbed a two-run homer to left and it was 4-0 before JSU recorded an out.
"Having a first inning like that helps you settle down as a team," said Julylia. "It helps your pitching staff settle down and know that they don't have to do too much to get the dub [win].
"My hat goes off to these guys, we had a great day collectively, pitching, offense and defense."
AJ Jones (1-1) kept the Gamecocks at bay on the other end. He surrendered a leadoff single in the first, but a double play erased the runner and ended the inning. Jones retired 10 in a row at one point, and struck out a career-best five while allowing only one run over his longest outing of his Jacksonville career, six innings.
JU kept the pressure on at the plate all day. Julylia singled home Reagan Wright and Camacho delivered his third RBI on a sacrifice fly to right in the second to make it 6-0.
After Jacksonville State pushed across a run in the fourth, JU tacked on two more to make it 8-1 when John Cassala's blooper down the line in right fell in a plated two.
Julylia knocked in his second run of the day with a single to center in the fifth, and Dubrule picked up a sacrifice fly to right to give JU its first double-digit run output of the season.
After a one hour and four minute rain delay, JU came out and picked up right where it left off, bringing 11 men to the plate and scoring six in the sixth, including a three-run home run by Julylia, the first of his career. He set career-bests with five hits and five RBI and was not retired in six plate appearances.
Julylia, who missed all of last season with an injury, is not taking any of these days for granted.
"I'm just appreciating the game. To get back out here and get my first sweep again it feels great."
JSU scored three more in the eighth and ninth.
"We're still not firing on all cylinders," said Hayes. "We have to continue to fight and work together.
"No matter who the opponent is, we've got to play clean baseball"
Jacksonville is back in action this Tuesday at home, when the Florida Gators come to town. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.