Bucs Move Closer to .500

Bucs Move Closer to .500
Lyndon Coleman's two-run, eighth-inning homer put the Bucs up for good in a 7-3 win. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Connor Oliveri pumped his fist in the air as he rounded first  base.

It was that type of moment for the Buccaneers. A moment that helps relieve some of the sting this year.

Oliveri belted a two-run homer to left to help put the finishing touches on a 7-3 comeback win for Barry over host St. Thomas Wednesday night. Oliveri's blast, his first of the season, came in a four-run eighth inning and followed a two-run shot by Lyndon Coleman that put the Bucs (19-20) in front for good.

T.J. Mullins (3-4) came on in relief to close the door, and Barry moved within a game of .500 entering the final weekend home series against Palm Beach Atlantic Friday.

"Connor hit a bomb," Buccaneers head coach Marc Pavao said after his club rallied from a 3-2 eighth-inning deficit to avenge an early-season loss to St. Thomas (38-12).

Barry produced 10 hits, none bigger than Coleman and Oliveri's jacks in the eighth.

Trailing 3-2, Coleman cranked a two-run shot over the wall in left with no outs to push the Buccaneers ahead, 4-3. Three batters later, Oliveri added a two-run dinger of his own in nearly the same spot. That sent the Bucs into the late innings with a three-run lead.

Tim Blackmon's two-out RBI single to right in the ninth added an insurance run for Barry, which scored the game's first two runs only to have St. Thomas take the lead in the sixth.

Starter Corey Witkowski worked masterfully through the first four innings, retiring 12 of the first 14 batters he faced to keep St. Thomas scoreless. The Bobcats scored twice in the fifth to tie it up before taking the lead in the sixth. Witkowski exited after allowing three runs, five hits and two walks.

Tyler Petsch worked an inning and a third in relief, allowing a hit and two walks, while fanning two in a scoreless effort before Mullins came on to finish off the last 2 1/3 innings for the win. Mullins gave up three hits and no walks, and struck out three.

Blackmon was 2 for 4 with two RBI. Adrian English went 2 for 3 with an RBI. Oliveri was 1 for 3 with the homer, and Coleman was 1 for 4 with the homer. Harold Holness collected two hits in five at-bats. Julio Ramos and Michael Slabach also had hits for the Bucs.

St. Thomas' Hector Bello, Oscar Romero and Hector Acosta each had two hits.

Barry's final home weekend series in which seven seniors will be honored begins at 6 p.m. Friday.