FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Nova Southeastern baseball team (7-7, 6-7 SSC) delivered two crucial victories on Saturday at the NSU Baseball Complex, triumphing over Barry to sweep the series on two hotly-contested victories.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Game 1 Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 5, Barry – 4
Game 2 Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 4, Barry – 1
Records: Nova Southeastern (7-7, 6-7 SSC), Barry (9-7, 7-5 SSC)
Location: NSU Baseball Complex, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Sharks went to work early in the doubleheader on offense, carrying over momentum from the previous outing against the Buccaneers, scoring in the first inning thanks to an Alex Hernandez single shot up the middle, and RBI single that plated Andrew Labosky.
The scoring didn’t stop there, as Stephen Schissler made the most of a leadoff Adam Smith walk in the second, belting his second 2021 home run for the three-run advantage.
Starter JP Williams was steady early, but not his normal strikeout-tossing self, and the Buccaneers were able to manufacture some runs in the subsequent half. After Omar Baldo was the recipient of a rare Williams walk, he came around to score on a dropped line drive in the Sharks infield. With two runners aboard, Ihosvany Casteneda’s RBI single chipped off Williams’ leg that sliced the NSU advantage to a single run. Richie Sobalvarro closed out the frame for Barry with an RBI groundout to tie the game at three-all.
In the home half, it was Schissler again delivering the score, drifting an RBI double off the right center wall to score Alejandro Macario and push the Sharks back on top.
The big Barry inning only strengthened Williams’ resolve, quickly dispatching the Bucs for the next three frames before running into some trouble in the top of the seventh, yielding to Ricky Shimko. With the bases loaded, Shimko plunked Sobalvarro for the RBI, again evening the contest before inducing the final flyout.
The Sharks utilized pinch hitters Daniel Irisarri and Nik Sanders in the eighth, and it proved to be just the remedy, as both drew walks and set the stage for a Tyler Epstein sacrifice fly that sent the crucial go-ahead run to the plate.
After entering in the eighth, reliever Matt Kavanaugh delivered on his growing reputation, collecting three total strikeouts en route to his second win of the season, as well as the series win for the Sharks.
Both offenses were quieted early in the finale, until the Sharks broke the stalemate in the bottom of the third as Labosky dashed home on Ray Sanchez’ RBI groundout to first base and Adan Fernandez scored on an infield error for the 2-0 lead.
In the meantime, starter Brady Acker was cruising. Acker extended a no-hitter for the Sharks into the sixth, when Blake Brito led off with a single that only prolonged another blank frame for the Bucs.
Sparked backed to life, the Sharks capitalized on the move into the Barry bullpen, loading the bases with back-to-back walks and a hit batter. Labosky made the situation work to NSU’s benefit, sending Marcario home on a sac fly. Schissler then made a heads-up play for the second score, dashing home on a wild pitch to grow the NSU lead to 4-0.
Just one hit allowed and the Sharks aimed to have Acker finish what he started, sending him out for the seventh and final inning. With two outs on the board, Acker ran into a jam and and the Bucs tacked up their lone run on a David Vazquez RBI single grounded through the right side. NSU sent Carlos Rey out to the mound to close things out, and three pitches later the ball landed in Bryce Hazzard’s glove in right field for not only the second NSU series win, but also the first sweep of the season for the Sharks.
STATS OF THE DAY
- Despite the loss in the first game, Barry outhit NSU 8-6 in the first game, while the Sharks delivered a commanding 7-3 advantage in the second.
- Schissler went 2-for-5 on the day with three RBI and two runs.
- The Sharks had a very aggressive day on the basepath, stealing 11 total bases, led by a four-base swipe in the doubleheader for Tyler Epstein.
- Epstein reached base as a hit batsman three times on Saturday and five times in total during the Barry series.
- The Sharks move to .500 on the year and have made a similar turnaround after a challenging start in last year’s shortened season. After starting 2021 at 1-6, the Sharks have won five of their last six outings and climbing the Sunshine State Conference standings.
Filling in postponed contests from earlier in the season, the Sharks will host the Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday night at the NSU Baseball Complex for the second game of the series. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.