MELBOURNE, Fla. – While the Sharks are getting hot and have won six of their last seven games, the Nova Southeastern baseball team has also been able to capture weekly conference honors for the second week in a row, as officials from the Sunshine State Conference office have named Brady Acker as SSC Baseball Pitcher of the Week for his efforts on Saturday against Barry.
The Sharks’ super-senior, Acker (Tamarac, Fla.) gets the Pitcher of the Week nod after carrying a no-hitter to the sixth inning before the Buccaneers managed a base knock. Acker delivered over 100 pitches in the contest, standing on the bump for 6.2 innings, allowing three hits, two walks, and an earned run. The right-hander struck out seven batters while holding Barry to a .125 batting average in the 4-1 NSU seven-inning victory – completing the first series sweep of the season for the Sharks.
This is the second honor for the Sharks this year and the first for Acker’s career.
Although we won’t see Acker again until Saturday, the Sharks (7-7) are back in action for five games this week. NSU hosts Palm Beach Atlantic at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21st, then follows up with a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon (3:00 p.m.) vs. Lynn. The Sharks and Lynn Fighting Knights will close out their series on Saturday in Boca Raton, beginning with a noon first pitch.
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. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: Game 1 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.
Game 2 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.
UP NEXT 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.
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Down from the first inning on, the Nova Southeastern Sharks (5-7) continued their tradition of not backing down from late deficits, doing what previous rallies had fallen short of in successfully completing the comeback. The Sharks scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Barry Buccaneers, 8-7, on Thursday night in the first game of their Sunshine State Conference series. INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 8, Barry – 7 Records: Barry (9-5, 7-3 SSC), Nova Southeastern (5-7, 4-7 SSC) Location: Feinbloom Field, Miami Shores, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Sharks were unable to break through in the first inning, stranding runners on the corners with one out, but the Bucs had no such difficulties. A two-out, two-run single through the hole on the left side broke the seal, scoring a third run on a wild pitch shortly thereafter. The Sharks then left the bases loaded in the second, indicating a potentially bad omen and a recurring theme from early-season losses, but after Adan Fernandez doubled high off the batters’ eye in dead center, Ray Sanchez made sure to put an end to that, driving an 0-2 pitch deep to right for a long RBI single.
The score remained at 3-1 until Daniel Irisarri homered just to the right of the batters’ eye in the sixth, closing the gap to a single run. Meanwhile, Sharks starter Cooper Omans had been cruising, allowing just four base runners since the start of the fourth inning and retiring 11 of the last 12 he faced, until a two-out hit batsmen in the bottom half was followed by a two-run long ball to left field, ending Omans’ day at 5.2 innings, with five runs allowed (but only two earned) on five hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.
Fernandez jumped on another 0-2 mistake in the next half-inning, sending it into left for his fourth dinger of the season and cutting the deficit back down to two runs. The Bucs, however, doubled that in that eighth, with back-to-back RBI base hits, setting the stage for what would need to be a very fruitful ninth inning for the Sharks.
Alejandro Macario singled back up the middle and Stephen Schissler worked a walk out of a full count to start the inning, forcing the Buccaneers to turn to the ‘pen for the first time in the frame. The second time came after Tyler Epstein was hit by the second pitch of the at bat, loading the bases for Andrew Labosky, who got just enough of the third pitch he saw to scrape it over the left field wall for a game-tying grand slam.
Facing the fourth different reliever in a row, Fernandez notched his second double of the game just inside the left field line and scored on another double by Alex Steinbach to the other side of the field. Though Steinbach was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, the Sharks were now in control for the first time all night, turning a four-run deficit into a one-run advantage. That was more than enough for closer Matt Kavanaugh, who allowed just two walks in between a pair of groundouts and a fly out to lock down the save and the road victory to begin the series.
STATS OF THE NIGHT
Though he gave up the two runs in the eighth, Jeremy Cook picked up the win, his first as a member of the Sharks. He also struck out two batters in his two innings of work.
Kavanaugh earned his first save of the year and third of his career with his scoreless inning of work. His first was at Barry as well, last Feb. 22. This was also just his second out of 10 career appearances without recording a strikeout, the first being that same Barry game.
The Sharks continue their hot hitting of late, now averaging 8.0 runs and 10.6 hits and batting .314/.418/.574 with 22 extra-base hits (10 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs) in their last five games.
Adan Fernandez is also keeping his recent hot streak going, matching his career high of four hits and setting a new one with nine total bases. Over the course of his current six-game hitting streak, he is batting an unfathomable .652/.714/1.087, with four doubles, two homers, eight runs scored and six driven in – raising his average from a season-low .150 to a team-high .419.
The Sharks hit three home runs as a team in back-to-back games for the first time since March 24-29, 2018 a three-game stretch versus Palm Beach Atlantic and Rollins. The last time it happened it consecutive road games was April 1-2, 2016, when NSU crushed a grand total of 12 homers in a three-game series, coincidentally, at Barry.
UP NEXT The Buccaneers will make their way north to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday for the doubleheader to round out the series, with the action starting at 1:00 p.m. at the NSU Baseball Complex.
DALLAS – After opening the week with his first career Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week award, Nova Southeastern second-year freshman shortstop Tyler Epstein has added to his awards pot, named South Region Hitter of the Week by officials from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) – another career first for the Pembroke Pines, Fla. native.
Helping the Sharks to their first SSC series victory of the year, Epstein delivered three consecutive 3-for-5 and multi-RBI games last week in games against Palm Beach Atlantic and Rollins, notching a .588 four-game average (10-for-17), a double, a triple and a home run.
Last week, Epstein recorded eight RBI and five runs, accounting for nearly 50-percent of all NSU runs across four outings – registering a .941 slugging percentage. Epstein reached base at a .632 clip and tallied a 1.573 OPS while also reaching base via a walk and hit by pitch. He added one stolen base and recorded 16 total bases. In the field at shortstop, he was perfect, collecting 10 assists and six putouts.
Since winning the SSC weekly award, Epstein led off the Sharks’ win at Lynn with a first-inning double on Wednesday and scored three times against the Fighting Knights, en route to an 11-4 NSU midweek victory.
Epstein and the Sharks (4-7) are slated to return to SSC action against Barry on Thursday (April 15) at 6:00 p.m. and then return to the NSU Baseball Complex to finish the series in a doubleheader against Barry on Saturday (April 17) – first pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.
BOCA RATON, Fla. – In a brief reprieve from the grind of Sunshine State Conference action, the Nova Southeastern Sharks (4-7) scored early and often in their 11-4 midweek non-conference road win again South Florida foe Lynn University, as the offense continued its recent breakout, paced by a career-first multi-home run day by Alex Steinbach and a .750 day for Adan Fernandez.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 11, Lynn – 4 Records: Lynn (6-12), Nova Southeastern (4-7) Location: Lynn Baseball Field, Boca Raton, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Sharks had an immediate scoring opportunity against former Shark Marvin Guzman, when Tyler Epstein led off the game with a double, but he was unable to score despite advancing to third on the first out.
After the Fighting Knights led off their half with a home run, the Sharks quickly came back to tie it. Ray Sanchez displayed some surprising speed, going all the way to third on an error by the right fielder, then came in to score on a groundout. Meanwhile, starter Daniel Rivero, making just his third appearance and his first career start, rebounded from the leadoff homer to retire the next six batters, including three via strikeout, doing an admirable job as the first of the team’s “Johnny Wholestaff,” before giving way to the rest of the bullpen.
In the third inning, the Sharks took the lead and never looked back, Fernandez driving in Epstein with a single to left for the 2-1 edge. Starting off a big day, Steinbach sent a solo homer to the opposite field in the next frame before the Fighting Knights got the run back with a solo shot of their own. The Sharks showed no signs of slowing down, though, scoring in the fourth straight inning with Epstein and Fernandez repeating their two-man game from the third. They logged two runs in an inning for the first time when Sanchez and his speed showed up once again, this time without the assistance of any errors, scoring Fernandez on a triple over the center fielder’s head.
The Knights had a chance to close the gap or perhaps even take the lead, loading the bases with no outs after their first and only 1-2-3 inning in the top half of the sixth, but reliever Ricky Shimko was able to limit the damage to just a sacrifice fly, keeping the Sharks on top, 5-3. Sensing the game was still too close for their own comfort, the Sharks offense went back to work and decided to put the game out of reach for good in the seventh. Michael Uz drew a walk to load the bases and force the Fighting Knights to use their third pitcher of the game, who proceeded to issue another walk to Sanchez – then two batters later, served up Steinbach’s second longball of the afternoon, this time pulled to left field, putting the Sharks comfortably in front, 9-3.
Lynn got one more on another solo homer, then another bases-loaded situation allowed Nik Sanders a pinch-hitting opportunity. Much like his similar position to end the first game of the Tampa series less than two weeks ago, Sanders once again sent the pitch to the warning track in right field, though he did at least get a sacrifice fly out of this one to get the Sharks their 10th run of the game. Alex Hernandez, in a pinch-hit spot in the ninth, got that extra carry that Sanders lacked, turning on his pitch for a homer into left, the 11th and final run of the game.
STATS OF THE DAY
The Sharks hit three home runs as a team for the first time this season, with Steinbach being the first player to hit two in one game since Garrett Wolforth vs. Embry-Riddle on Feb. 23, 2019.
Even though they were shut out in their second game of the doubleheader at Rollins on Saturday, the Sharks are still averaging 8.0 runs and 10.0 hits over their last four games, batting .303/.415/.546 with 16 extra-base hits during that span.
All three of Steinbach’s homers this season have come in that four-game stretch, and he has multi-hit games in each of the Sharks’ last three wins.
Adan Fernandez blasted home runs in the first inning of each of the first two games of the season, but he was just 3-for-20 (.150) overall after six games. He is fully on the other side of that slump, on a torrid 11-for-18 (.611) tear in his last five games, bringing his average up to .368 on the year.
Despite using a bullpen staff game approach, the Sharks pitching corps held a Fighting Knights offense that averaged over five runs and eight hits per game to just four runs on four hits in this contest, with three of those hits being solo home runs, including two off the bat of leadoff hitter Lawrence Cicileo.
UP NEXT The Sharks will return to conference play on Thursday, continuing their South Florida swing by heading down to Miami Shores to face off against the Barry Buccaneers, currently second in the SSC at 7-2 (9-4 overall), to begin their series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., returning the favor with the doubleheader at the NSU Baseball Complex on Saturday.
MELBOURNE, Fla. – Officials from the Sunshine State Conference office announced on Monday that Nova Southeastern’s Tyler Epstein has been named SSC Baseball Player of the Week for his efforts this past week, helping the Sharks to their first series win, earning the key win at Rollins over the weekend.
Earning his first career weekly award and the first for NSU this season, Epstein reeled off three consecutive 3-for-5 and multi-RBI games to earn SSC Player of the Week honors. The Pembroke Pines, Florida native led the Sharks to their first series win of the year with a .588 four-game average (10-for-17), a double, a triple and a home run.
Epstein notched eight RBI and five runs for the week, accounting for nearly 50-percent of all NSU runs across four outings. In addition to a .941 slugging percentage, Epstein reached base at a .632 clip and tallied a 1.573 OPS while also reaching base via a walk and hit by pitch. The freshman also stole one base and recorded 16 total bases. In the field at Shortstop, he was perfect, collecting 10 assists and six putouts.
Epstein and the Sharks (3-7) are scheduled for a 12 noon first pitch at Lynn on Wednesday (April 14), then head to Barry on Thursday (April 15) at 6:00 p.m. and round out the week with a doubleheader against Barry on Saturday (April 17), with first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m.
WINTER PARK, Fla. – After breaking out in a big way for a season-high 11 runs at home on Friday night, the Nova Southeastern Sharks (3-7) carried their suddenly hot bats on the road with them to Winter Park for a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader at Rollins’ Alfond Field, winning the first game, 10-4, to clinch the series victory, before going cold in the nightcap, falling 2-0.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Game 1 Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 10, Rollins – 4 Game 2 Final Score: Rollins – 2, Nova Southeastern – 0 (7 inn.) Records: Rollins (8-6, 8-5 SSC), Nova Southeastern (3-7, 3-7 SSC) Location: Alfond Stadium, Winter Park, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Sharks wasted no time in the first game, putting up a quick two runs in their first at bats. Tyler Epstein led off the game with a walk, followed by an Alejandro Macario double to put them both in scoring position. Andrew Labosky drove one in with a single up the middle, then Michael Uz used an RBI groundout to score the second. After a leadoff walk for the Tars, NSU starter J.P. Williams prevented the Rollins from matching, with a couple of key strikeouts to leave a runner at third. Rollins got one back in the second inning instead on a leadoff home run, but Williams extinguished another scoring chance, stranding two on base with one out, and using that momentum to settle into a groove, retiring 10 of 11 batters faced from that point through the second out in the bottom of the fifth. Meanwhile, the offense was in the process of putting the game out of reach for the second day in a row, this time with a pair of crooked innings. It began with a two-out rally in the fourth, with a walk drawn by Daniel Irisarri and an Olivier Mayrand single. Stephen Schissler then blasted an opposite-field, three-run shot. After back-to-back doubles by Epstein and Macario, the Tars turned to the bullpen with the Sharks in front, 6-1. The Sharks went back to work the next inning when Uz and Alex Steinbach led off with singles through the hole into left field. Mayrand drove in Uz with another single into left field, then Epstein imitated Schissler from the inning before, with another two-out, three-run, opposite-field home run to almost the exact same spot past the right field wall. The Tars got back on the board in the bottom half with their second longball of the game, this one a two-run shot, but Williams rebounded with a 1-2-3 inning, completing the sixth for the first time this season. His final line was three runs on five hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts in six frames for the quality start. Jeremy Cook took over for the seventh, avoiding the potential damage of a bases-loaded, one-out situation with a pair of groundouts to allow just one run in. The rain started to come in the eighth inning, and with two outs in the Rollins half, the game was interrupted by a lightning delay, which lasted approximately 75 minutes. Cook, having settled down from his early control issues with four straight retired before the delay, came back as if nothing had happened, retiring four more to finish the game, securing the rare three-inning save with his best performance as a Shark: one run, one hit, two walks and three strikeouts. The second game was a fast-paced pitcher’s duel, appreciated by many, considering the extra time added to the day’s proceedings. Starter Brady Acker left two in scoring position with a strikeout in the bottom of the first, starting his own stretch of 10 out of 11 batters retired, including 1-2-3 innings in both the third and fourth. The Sharks had a chance to break the tie in the third, when Schissler doubled down the left field line and advanced an extra base on a wild pitch, but he was unable to get those extra 90 feet. It was Rollins finally breaking the ice in the fifth, first on a squeeze bunt with a runner on third, followed by a double and an RBI single, both with two outs. Reliever Matt Kavanaugh put out the fire with a strikeout and a 1-2-3 sixth to give the Sharks a chance. However, after a leadoff single, a bang-bang double play stung a little extra, and a pop-up with a new runner on second ended the inning. In the seventh and final frame, Irisarri kept hope alive with a two-out single to bring up Kolbe Aven, who sent the ball all the way to the warning track in right-center, where it hung up just enough for the right fielder to catch it.
STATS OF THE DAY
Epstein posted his third consecutive three-hit performance in the first game, finishing the week with a .588/.632/.941 line and three extra-base hits (one double, one triple, one homer) out of his 10 total, resulting in eight RBI and five runs scored.
The Sharks reached double-digit runs in consecutive games for the first time since the last two games of the shortened 2020 season (12 vs. Concordia on March 7 and 13 vs. Assumption on March 8), and the first time in back-to-back wins since a three-game streak from April 20-26 in 2019, when they defeated Eckerd (12-9), Palm Beach Atlantic (12-8) and Florida Southern (13-3), the first and last of those games both being in SSC play.
With seven more strikeouts, J.P. Williams is now up to 22 on the season in just 15.2 innings across three starts, after 23 in five starts totaling 22.2 innings last season.
Jeremy Cook earned the first save of the season by a Sharks pitcher, and the first three-inning save since Jarret Krzyzanowski in an 8-1 win at West Florida on March 2 last season.
The offense reached season highs in hits (14), extra-base hits (6), and doubles (4), with their third multi-home run game of the year and second in a row.
Once again, they also came through in clutch situations that have previously been their downfall: 6-for-17 with runners in scoring position and 8-for-18 with two outs.
In the nightcap, Brady Acker had his longest start of the year, at 4.2 innings, with a season-high six strikeouts, as well.
The teams combined for just seven hits in the seven-inning game, half as many as the Sharks had by themselves in the first game. The game took just 1:35 to complete, 20 minutes longer than the lightning delay that held up the opener.
The series starting rotation of Cooper Omans, Williams, and Acker combined for 22 strikeouts in 16.2 innings, while allowing just 10 hits, for an opponent batting average of .172.
For the series, the Sharks hit .414 with runners in scoring position and .425 with two outs, while the pitching staff held the Tars to .167 and .226, respectively.
UP NEXT The Sharks will see their first non-conference action of the season, when they make the quick trip north to Boca Raton to face the Lynn Fighting Knights, scheduled for an early noon first pitch.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – What started out looking like a pitcher’s duel between the Nova Southeastern Sharks (2-6) and the Rollins Tars (7-5) on Friday night at the NSU Baseball Complex made a quick shift in NSU’s favor at the midpoint of the night, as the Sharks unloaded a seven-run fifth inning to earn their second win of the 2021 campaign. The run support backed up a steady pitching performance by Cooper Omans.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 11, Rollins – 6 Records: Nova Southeastern (2-6, 2-7 SSC), Rollins (7-5, 7-4 SSC) Location: NSU Baseball Complex, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The opening frame was not in the Sharks favor and it definitely didn’t rattle the confidence of the second-year left-handed pitcher Omans. The Tars used a single and a walk to get on the board as Adams Torres tagged up for the early lead on Jack Gonzalez’ sacrifice fly.
However, that fast start was halted just as quickly after a visit to the mound from pitching coach Bryan Radziewski. Omans quickly eliminated the threat, knocking out the final out swinging.
The Tars’ lead wouldn’t stand long, as Tyler Epstein sent the second pitch of the home half into center field for a leadoff single. Two batters latter, Adan Fernandez crushed his third home run of the year out of left field to put the Sharks on top – where they would stay for good with more run support on the way.
Epstein stuck again in the bottom of the second, launching a long line drive into center field to plate Alejandro Macario, who reached third on a blown pickoff at second, extending the NSU lead.
Coming off the inning-ending strikeout in the first, Omans started fresh, knocking down eight consecutive Rollins batters – including five strikeouts in the stretch – before a walk briefly interrupted his flow. Omans carried NSU all the way through the sixth with only one additional run allowed, striking out a career-best and team-leading nine strikeouts – the most strikeouts for a Shark since Devin Conn (15) in 2018.
Before Omans completed his run, the Sharks offense completely unloaded in the bottom of the fifth, lighting up the first Tars reliever, Carson Hauben. After Fernandez led off with a four-pitch walk, the Sharks coaxed out two more free passes to set up the game of pinball. As Rollins made the call to bring Ross Korosec from the bullpen, catcher Olivier Mayrand dropped the hammer to get the ball rolling with on a drive roped past the third baseman – bringing home Adam Smith and Fernandez. Macario followed with an RBI double lifted into the right center gap, scoring Alex Steinbach. Epstein smacked one off the wall in dead center for a two-run triple that scored Mayrand and Macario. Andrew Labosky rounded out four consecutive scoring plate appearances with an RBI single to right center, allowing Epstein and easy jog home. Wrapping up a seven-run inning for the Sharks, Fernandez sent Labosky to the plate with an RBI single to left.
Although the Tars notched a Luke Reidy home run in the sixth, the Sharks fired back in the home half, as Steinbach lifted his first NSU home run out of left field to grow the NSU advantage back to nine runs.
In the back third of the game, the Tars worked to make up ground against the Sharks bullpen, adding one run in both the seventh and eighth, but with just two runs in the ninth, NSU closed the door on the rally, as Carlos Rey put away two key strikeouts to send the game final at 11-6.
STATS OF THE DAY
The Sharks notched a new season high of 11 runs, coming on 12 hits, with seven starters logging hits and four multi-hit games.
Unlike recent games that saw the Sharks provide hits, but strand runners, NSU left just seven runners aboard in the opener with the Tars.
With the team’s longest appearance of the year, Omans’ nine strikeouts takes the lead for the most in the season for the second consecutive year.
Leading the team with a .667 average and a ridiculous .824 on-base percentage, Macario was 1-for-1 with an RBI and two runs, adding two more walks to make it six free passes in the past two games.
Collecting a hit for the 22nd time in the past 24 games, Epstein’s 3-for-4, three-RBI, two-run performance is his third multi-hit game in the past four outings – logging his second triple this season.
Finally breaking through, Steinback went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs.
UP NEXT The Sharks continue their series with Rollins on Saturday, but in Winter Park. The Sharks and Tars are set for a doubleheader at Alfond Stadium with first pitch set for 3:00 p.m.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A late-game comeback came up just short for the Nova Southeastern baseball team (1-6) on Wednesday night at J.M. “Jake” Rubin Park against Palm Beach Atlantic (4-10). Trailing six into the final two frames, the Sharks put up four runs across the eighth and ninth, but were unable to plate the final pair.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Final Score: Palm Beach Atlantic – 6, Nova Southeastern – 4 Records: Palm Beach Atlantic (4-10, 3-10 SSC), Nova Southeastern (1-6, 1-6 SSC) Location: J.M. “Jake” Rubin Park | West Palm Beach, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Sailfish put up a pair early, converting three first-inning singles into back-to-back scoring plays against the first start for Jose Varela. Jake Roper logged an RBI single and Robert Fabelo added an RBI fielder’s choice to put the Sharks in an early 2-0 hole. Two more scoring innings gave PBA some cushion, courtesy of a second-inning Sebastian Salado home run and a third-inning Roper RBI double before Stephen Schissler could take over pitching duties and gather two quick outs. In the fourth, Schissler delivered the first clean inning of the night, notching two strikeouts, but the Sailfish got to him in the fifth with consecutive RBI from Roper and Fabelo to push PBA ahead 6-0.
Starting in the sixth, Daniel Rivero, Carlos Rey and Joe Smeton combined to keep the Sailfish at bay, allowing just a single hit across three frames and logging five strikeouts to give the Shark and opening to rally.
After leaving 10 runners aboard on seven hits through the first seven innings, the Sharks offense finally started to put things in motion in the eighth off the first Sailfish reliever, Brad VanAsdlen. Starting down two outs with three runners aboard, shortstop Tyler Epstein found space in center field on an RBI single that scored Alejandro Macario and Adam Smith to snap the shutout.
Carrying a little momentum into the ninth, Adan Fernandez led off with a double to left field against right-handed reliever Mitchell Price. Entering as a final-frame pinch hitter, Andrew Labosky smacked an RBI double of his own to left field, prompting PBA to go back to the bullpen for the left, Ryan Webster. With one out away, Alex Steinbach cleared Labosky off the basepath with an RBI groundout. However, third baseman Lara snagged Olivier Mayrand’s line drive to shut the door on the Sharks’ comeback and send the game final at 6-4.
UP NEXT The Sharks return to the confines of the NSU baseball complex on Friday, hosting the series opener with the Rollins Tars at 5:00 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday in Winter Park, as the Sharks travel north for a doubleheader – first pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Playing their first twinbill within their own friendly confines, the Nova Southeastern Sharks brought much of the same effort as in the close series-opener defeat and gave the No. 3 Tampa Spartans their biggest test of the young season and their first Sunshine State Conference loss of the season, emerging victorious, 7-4 in the first game, before dropping the finale, 6-3.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: Game 1 Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 7, No. 3 Tampa – 4 Game 2 Final Score: No. 3 Tampa – 6, Nova Southeastern – 3 Records: Tampa (9-2), Nova Southeastern (1-5) Location: NSU Baseball Complex, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_Baseball | Instagram – @NSU_Baseball | Facebook – /NSUBaseball
HOW IT HAPPENED: The first game was a pitcher’s duel from the very beginning, with starters J.P. Williams and Braydon Nelson matching each other for the first three innings. Both teams had two runners aboard with two outs in the first, but a strikeout in the top half and a flyout in the bottom stymied the threats. Williams notched 1-2-3 innings in both the second and fourth, stranding a runner at third in between, while the Sharks’ two-out singles over their next two frames didn’t lead to anything, either.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth that the tie was broken, when the Sharks strung together four straight one-out base hits, starting with an Daniel Irisarri infield single off the pitcher’s foot. Adam Smith followed with his second double in as many games, just out of reach of a diving right fielder. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Irisarri scoring the first run. Olivier Mayrand brought Smith home with a bloop single inside the left field line, and Alejandro Macario had the fourth hit of the streak, continuing the station-to-station ball with a single of his own over the shortstop’s head. Tyler Epstein drove in the third and final run of the inning with another bloop, this time to shallow center.
Despite the long layoff that the offense gave him, Williams appeared to be continuing to cruise through the fifth, getting the first two outs with ease, before the Spartans had their own streak of four consecutive base hits, bringing two runs in to put some pressure on the Sharks, but Williams delivered a clutch strikeout looking to leave the bases loaded.
A leadoff double in the sixth chased Williams from the game, and head coach Laz Gutierrez went straight to closer Matt Kavanaugh. The first batter he faced laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Macario was unable to handle the throw covering first, allowing the runner to score from second and tying the game at 3. Holding the runner at third after a one-out double seemed to put Kavanaugh in a jam, it turned out to be an opportunity for him to be an escape artist, as he struck out the next two batters to keep the game tied.
The offense went back to work in their half after two quick outs, Stephen Schissler starting a two-out rally with a single and stolen base. Tyler Epstein showed his elite speed on a stand-up triple towards the opposing bullpen in the right field corner, then Michael Uz, facing a new reliever, singled into center and advanced two bases when the catcher lost track of a wild pitch. Despite a full count, the Spartans allowed Adan Fernandez to take first, giving way to pinch-hitter Alex Steinbach after another pitching change. Steinbach pushed the lead back to three runs with another RBI bloop into shallow right-center.
Kavanaugh, meanwhile, kept the Spartans at bay, recovering from a two-on, no-out situation in the seventh with another pair of strikeouts and a foul pop-up.
The Sharks added an insurance run in the eighth, Michael Uz reaching on an infield single, despite a great diving stop by the third baseman, advancing to second on the ensuing errant throw. He then scored on another Spartans error when the throw to complete a double play went wide of the bag.
Though the Spartans added a run in the ninth and had two in scoring position with one out, Kavanaugh finished the game, inducing a strikeout and pop out of the game’s potential tying batters.
In the second game, the Spartans offense wasted no time, scoring in each of the first four innings. In the first, the infield fly rule was called on a bases-loaded pop up skied high on the first-base line, but no one actually made the catch, resulting in a bizarre play in which all three runners advanced because of the ball still being live, despite it landing but a handful of feet from the plate, as Brady Acker’s hurried throw was wide of home. An inning later, the wind carried a two-out fly ball from medium depth into right field all the way to the wall for an RBI double, and another one came in the third.
After single runs in the first three innings, Tampa put up a three-spot in the fourth, leading off with a single and yet another double, followed by a passed ball and a two-run homer.
Offensively, the Sharks’ first scoring opportunity came in the third. Macario and Schissler both singled with one out, but Schissler didn’t have quite have the jump that Macario did, who had third base stolen easily before the Spartans could even think about a throw, but they were able to catch the trailer at second. NSU did finally scratch their way onto the scoreboard in the next inning, all thanks to Adan Fernandez, not for his power, but instead his aggressive baserunning. He reached by being hit by a pitch, then stole a base and advanced when the throw reached center field and scored on a wild pitch.
The Sharks had another golden opportunity in the fifth, loading the bases to chase the Tampa starter from the game, but reliever Jordan Leasure was throwing gas, finishing the inning with strikeouts on three pitches each, then striking out the side in the sixth. Much like the series opener in Tampa, the Sharks were down to their last three outs when they made a comeback attempt. This time, in the seven-inning nightcap, freshman Kolbe Aven finally ended the streak of five straight strikeouts with a leadoff home run to left. Epstein and Uz hit back-to-back two-out doubles, putting the tying run in the on-deck circle, but a strikeout put an end to the late push.
STATS OF THE DAY
The Sharks matched their season-high of seven runs and set a new high with 13 hits in the first game.
With seven strikeouts each from Williams and Kavanaugh, the Sharks’ 14 the most as a pitching staff since March 7, 2020, their second-to-last game of the shortened season, when they totaled 15 in a 12-4 win vs. Concordia.
The Sharks also stole a season-high five bases as a team in the win, going 7-for-9 on the day.
Michael Uz had the first 4-hit game by a Shark this season and tying his career high (also vs. Concordia), while Epstein and Macario also added a pair of hits.
The offense finally came through with runners in scoring position, going 5-for-15, as well as 7-for-19 with runners on base and 7-for-14 with two outs.
Kavanaugh’s four innings and 7 strikeouts are both career highs. Tampa’s ninth-inning run was also the first he has allowed in his career, ending his scoreless streak at 13 innings to begin his career as a freshman.
In the nightcap, Macario and Schissler had two-hit games out of the 8- and 9-holes, combining for half of the team’s eight hits.
Despite the Spartans being a perennial National Championship-contending powerhouse for several years, the Sharks are now 10-10 against them at the NSU Baseball Complex.
The Sharks had six wins against NCAA top-25 ranked opponents last season, the highest of those being No. 2 Colorado Mesa, who the Sharks defeated 11-7 on Feb. 8.
UP NEXT The Sharks are scheduled at home for their next matchup, facing off against the Rollins Tars in SSC play on Friday. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m.