Baseball Wins A Pair Of Elimination Games To Advance To Regional Final

Baseball Wins A Pair Of Elimination Games To Advance To Regional Final
T.J. Mullins worked 9.2 innings, earning a win and a save, to lift the Buccaneers into the regional final. Photo by Joel Auerbach.
PENSACOLA, Fla.—The 11th-ranked Barry Buccaneers staved off elimination by winning twice on Sunday at the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament at the University of West Florida’s Jim Spooner Field. The Bucs beat Nova Southeastern 5-4 and North Alabama 10-5 to advance to the regional final against the fifth-ranked host Argonauts.

The Bucs (39-16) must beat West Florida (47-8) twice to advance to the D-II World Series in Cary, N.C. The series begins on Saturday, May 28.

Against the Sharks, the Bucs jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, and then held off a furious comeback by Nova. In the first inning, Evan Ashley walked and went to third on a double by Drew Dwelly. Dean Green lifted a fly ball to center, that barely missed getting out, to score Ashley, while Dwelly came in on a wild pitch by NSU starter Isaac Hicks (5-4).

In the second inning, Chris Leon brought in James Young, who was hit by a pitch to open the frame, with a double down the left field line. Manny Pedrozo, who walked after Young, scored on a ground out by Adrian English.

The Sharks (35-18) narrowed the gap with a three-run homer by Andrew Durden in the third inning, but, with runners on first and second after a pair of walks by Buccaneer starter Tyler King, T.J. Mullins came in to shut the door. After single by Blake Boyd loaded the bases, Mullins got Nikko Echevarria on strikes and Carlos Asuaje flew out to center.

Barry’s Lyndon Coleman ripped a solo shot to lead off the fifth that made it 5-3 and provided the winning margin after Nova tacked on a run in the ninth inning on an RBI single by Havens Fitzsimmons. But Mullins held on to get the win in relief for Barry, working 6.2 innings, and allowing a run on five hits and two walks while striking out three.

Hicks took the loss for the Sharks. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in three innings. Torey Ekey worked four innings and struck out six, but allowed Coleman’s homer.

In the second game, the Lions (37-14) jumped out to a 5-1 lead after four innings but the Bucs responded with nine unanswered runs to take the game 10-5.

Trailing 5-3 in the seventh inning, the Bucs mounted a three-run rally to take a 6-5 lead. Coleman capped the rally by scoring on an error by right fielder Nick McGregor after a sacrifice fly by Young tied the game. Ashley singled to lead off the inning. One out later, Green was intentionally walked and Coleman followed with a single to load the bases. Young lifted a fly ball into right center and McGregor came in to make the catch, but rolled over after making it. He threw wildly to third in an attempt at Coleman, but the ball skipped by third baseman J.P. LaMunyon and into the Lions’ dugout, allowing Coleman to trot home.

The Bucs tacked on four runs in the ninth, aided by two wild pitches by Lion closer Joel Sessions. Dwelly singled and stole second. Young dropped a bunt down the third base line and LaMunyon came on to make the play, but slipped as he threw allowing Young to reach. One out later, Leon singled to right to score Dwelly. Ramos executed a perfect hit-and-run to bring in Young and Leon moved to third, scoring on a wild pitch. After Ramos stole third, he also scored on a wild pitch by Sessions, who had not issued one in 15 appearances before the game today.

Leon led the Bucs at the plate, going three-for-five with a double and two RBI. Green scored twice, while Ashley, Dwelly and Ramos all had two hits.

Leon also contributed with the glove. In the first inning, after the Lions had scored twice against Barry starter Calvin Rayburn (3-0), Leon picked Josh Cyr off first and Rayburn struck out LaMunyon to end the inning and prevent further damage. In the seventh, leading 6-5, McGregor led off with a double. But Leon picked him off second after Michael Schmidt failed to get down a bunt.

Rayburn, making the first start of his career, went six innings, leaving after the double by McGregor in the seventh. He allowed five runs (four earned), on five hits and four walks and struck out six.

Mullins, who threw 104 pitches in game one against Nova, came in to get the last nine outs and earn his third save. In the eighth inning, still leading 6-5, he allowed a double to Cyr and a single to Jake Sloan. Sloan stole second to put runners at second and third with no outs. But Mullins responded by striking out LaMunyon and Jake Mothershed and getting Dale Ricketts to bounce out to Matt Petty at second.

Casey Jones (3-4) took the loss for UNA in relief of Sloan. He allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in 3.2 innings.

(05/22/11 at Pensacola, Fla.)
#11 Barry 5, Nova Southeastern 4
Barry............................. 220 010 000 - 5 7 3 (38-16)
Nova Southeastern... 003 000 001 - 4 10 0 (35-18)
Pitchers: Barry - Tyler King; T.J. Mullins(3) and Chris Leon. Nova Southeastern - Isaac Hicks;
Torey Ekey(4); Sean Tighe(8) and Haven Fitzsimmonds.
Win-T.J. Mullins(4-2) Loss-Isaac Hicks(5-4) T-3:16 A-230
HR BUB - Lyndon Coleman (3).
HR NSB - Andrew Durden (16).
Weather: Sweltering
Hicks faced 2 batters in the 4th.

#11 Barry 10, North Alabama 5
Barry......................... 000 120 304 - 10 13 1 (39-16)
North Alabama....... 200 300 000 -   5    8 2 (37-14)
Pitchers: Barry - Calvin Rayburn; T.J. Mullins(7) and Chris Leon. North Alabama - Jake Sloan;
Casey Jones(5); Joel Sessions(9) and Dale Ricketts.
Win-Calvin Rayburn(3-0) Save-T.J. Mullins(3) Loss-Casey Jones(3-4) T-3:07 A-250
Weather: Moderating
Rayburn faced 1 batter in the 7th.