Jacksonville Sports Day

Dolphins Hold On to Best Liberty at ASUN Championship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another complete performance led Jacksonville University baseball to a 7-3 win over Liberty to win the 2021 ASUN Baseball Championship and punch a 16th ever berth to the NCAA Tournament..

The Dolphins (16-32) took the lead in the bottom of the first, used strong pitching and defense to hold it through the middle innings, with a late scoring surge enough to help fend off a Liberty rally in the ninth to capture the program’s fifth ASUN tournament championship and sixth overall.

Liberty started the game hot, with back-to-back base hits to set the table for a couple of ground-outs that led to a run. JU had an immediate answer in the bottom half, with Ruben Someillan singling to lead it off and scoring when Mike Cassala hit a two-run home run to left field.

From there, similiar to Thursday’s game vs. the Flames, pitching and defense dominated. Jacksonville loaded the bases in the second and forced Liberty to go to the pen early, but a line-drive to first turned into a double play to end the threat.

On the other side, Mason Adams twirled a gem for JU. After allowing the run in the first, he stranded men on base in the second, third and fourth innings, including men in scoring position in the latter two. He worked perfect innings in the fifth and the sixth, sitting down seven in a row at one point.

In the seventh, the leadoff man reached on a single and was bunted into scoring position, with Jackson Grabsky making a sliding stop to hold the runner on a ground out to third. He exited after the 6.2 innings, with seven strikeouts on the day, giving way to Tyler Naumann, who struck out a man looking to end the inning.

After putting men on via walks in the fourth and fifth, but not coming up with a clutch hit to score them, Dolphins broke through in the seventh. A walk in-between two strikeouts set the table for Christian Coipel, who flared a single to left to put runners at the corners.

After a controversial call on a Mike Cassala line drive to third that the umpire ruled a foul ball, he battled back to draw a walk and load the bases. Cory Heffron poked a single to center that plated two, which broke open the dam.

Elias Flowers hit a chopper to third for an infield single that drove in another run, Duncan Hunter lined a hit shot off of the third baseman’s glove that the shortstop picked up and threw away to first, leading to another run, and the first pitch after a change on the mound was wild to the backstop to plate a fifth run of the frame, making it 7-1.

Liberty loaded the bases in the eighth, but Naumann settled down and struck out two before inducing a fielder’s choice to end the inning without allowing a run. He loaded them up again in the ninth without recording an out, which led to a pitching change to bring in Tyler Santana, Thursday’s starter.

After he won the first game against Liberty with eight strong innings, he hit a batter and gave up an RBI single to center before back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to Dakota Julylia at short ended it.

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