FORT LAUDERDALE – Barry University’s baseball team outslugged Nova Southeastern University Friday night in a battle of Sunshine State Conference rivals, 11-9.
Nova Southeastern (17-9, 2-2 SSC) entered the game on a three-game winning streak and a tie for fourth in the conference standings.
Calvin Rayburn took the mound the series opener against the rival Sharks but struggled to find his rhythm on the mound and the Sharks took an early lead with a three-run rally in the second inning.
Barry (19-10, 5-5 SSC) scored once in the fourth and again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to just one, but the Sharks countered with another three run inning in the bottom of the frame.
Trailing 6-2, Adrian Benitez faced the bases loaded with two outs and Nova looking to put the game out of reach. The right-hander got Angel Acevedo to fly out to Adrian English in foul territory to escape any further trouble.
Luis Arrizurieta led off the sixth with a base hit up the middle and Adrian English belted a liner that one-hopped the centerfield wall to drive in the run. After a ground out to the right side advanced English, J.C. Cardenas hit a hard grounder down the first-base, line just in fair territory, for a double to plate English.
Carlos Asuaje led off the sixth inning for the Sharks with a bunt single and the nation’s leading base stealer was on the move as he looked to get into scoring position.
After Navarro fouled a pitch off the hand of Arrizurieta, Asuaje tested the senior catcher and Arrizurieta delivered a strike to second to gun him down. Benitez worked a scoreless inning and the tides seemed to start turning the Bucs’ way.
Kenny Miranda entered in relief of Vinnie Contaldi in the seventh inning and the Buccaneers jumped all over him.
After Joe Iorio got the rally started with an infield single, Sheehan Planas-Arteaga followed with another hit through the right side and the Bucs were threatening again.
Arrizurieta hit a grounder back to Miranda for what looked like what could have been an inning-ending double play. Fortunately for Barry, Miranda’s throw to Asuaje was low and all three runners were safe.
English came through with a sacrifice fly to plate Iorio and Tyler Kellmann belted his first homerun of the season to give Barry an 8-6 lead.
With two outs and already ahead by two, the Bucs weren’t finished. Cardenas walked, stole second and scored on a double off the bat of Michael Slabach to cap the five-run rally in the seventh and take a 9-6 lead.
Barry kept the pressure mounting in the eighth with a leadoff walk to Joe Iorio.
Matthew Garlock pinch-ran for Iorio and stole second and Planas-Arteaga followed with a liner to left.
After a pitching change Arrizurieta stepped in with runners on the corners and no outs and delivered his fourth hit of the night to drive in Garlock.
The Sharks didn’t go away quietly as they tried to spark a ninth inning rally when they brought the tying run to the plate but Tyler Petsch shut the door with the two out save to seal the victory.
Buccaneer starter Calvin Rayburn did not figure into the decision but finished with four K’s in 4.2 innings of work.
Adrian Benitez (4-0) earned his fourth win of the season after allowing just three runs in 3.2 innings in relief.
Arrizurieta led the Bucs’ offense with four hits while Planas, Slabach and Iorio all finished with multiple hits on the night.
Kellmann finished 1-for-3 with a season-high four RBI and a run scored.
Barry returns to the NSU Baseball Complex Saturday for a doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m. Live-stats and video broadcast will be available through the Barry University athletics website, GOBARRYBUCS.COM.