FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Once the No. 16 Nova Southeastern baseball team got on track, their power swings were impossible to stop, overpowering No. 2 Colorado Mesa, 11-7, in Saturday’s series finale at the NSU Baseball Complex. First-year players Olivier Mayrand, Stephen Schissler and Ray Sanchez each went yard to push the Sharks past the Mavericks, accounting for seven Sharks runs.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final Score: Nova Southeastern – 11, Colorado Mesa – 7
Records: Nova Southeastern (2-4), Colorado Mesa (2-1)
Location: NSU Baseball Complex, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
As it played out in the previous two games of the series, the Colorado Mesa Mavericks exerted a formidable offensive approach at the NSU Baseball Complex. However, unlike the prior outings, the Sharks made immediate and significant responses at the plate after CMU chalked up runs in the first and third on a Haydn McGeary home run and Tyler Parker RBI single. This time around, Duncan Pastore and Brandon Chinea capitalized on a CMU miscue in back-to-back scoring plays in the third. Pastore followed Tyler Epstein with infield singles to the shortstop – Pastore’s bringing home freshman center fielder Schissler, who was making his first collegiate start. Chinea followed with a two-run double to the right center wall for what would eventually be the final go-ahead run. After Adan Fernandez added a single, Andrew Labosky expanded the lead with an RBI double to left center.
The Sharks lead then at two runs, Bryan Diaz walked to load the bases – then the freshman catcher Mayrand cranked a no-doubt home run beyond the left field fence – the first grand slam for the Sharks since April 20 last season at Eckerd. The huge swing by the rookie invigorated the Sharks and provided the home team an 8-2 advantage.
Although the Mavericks brought things closer in the fifth with another McGeary homer, this time for three runs, Anthony DiFede entered in relief and calmed things down to keep the lead at 8-5 in NSU’s favor.
Matt Ornelas and Nik Sanders took over pitching duties to keep the Sharks clear through the sixth and the seventh, making way for another key NSU strike. In the home half of the sixth, the Sharks saw another freshman put one out, as a Schissler home run edged over the fence for a 9-5 advantage. The junior at first base, Sanchez delivered a third NSU home run for a pair in the seventh and the most runs since last February.
Although the Mavericks tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth, it was too little, too late, as Lucas Reid delivered a blank ninth frame to secure the 11-7 series finale victory.
For the Sharks, DiFede (1-0) earned the win while finishing out the fifth and halting the CMU run. For the Mavericks, starter Jared Ure (0-1) absorbs the loss, throwing 2.2 innings and giving up all eight third-inning NSU runs.
STATS OF THE GAME:
- With the victory, the Sharks’ record in the series moves to 1-2 and 2-4 on the year.
- For the second consecutive game, the Sharks secured a pair of double plays at key moments.
- With three home runs on the afternoon, it was the most dingers for NSU since last April 12 at Lynn (4).
- The Sharks’ hitting fell back in line with the stats this season, tying CMU with 12 hits apiece and only leaving four men aboard on the afternoon.
- After seeing a five-game hit streak broken last game, Pastore returned to the hits column with a 2-for-5, one RBI, one run performance in the finale.
- Labosky and Schissler each went 2-for-4 to lead the Sharks – each tallying one RBI and two runs.
- Chinea was also 2-for-5 with two RBI.
- Eight NSU starters collected hits.
- Sanders went the longest of NSU’s relievers at 1.1 innings, allowing no Mavericks aboard and striking out one.
HEAR DIRECT FROM COACH LAZ GUTIERREZ
— NSU Baseball (@NSU_Baseball) February 9, 2020
Nova Southeastern opens a new series next weekend as hosts to Newberry, Friday-Saturday, Feb. 14-15 at the NSU Baseball Complex.