Anderson Shines In Opener, JU Drops Two of Three

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Photo by George Wahl II

The Jacksonville University baseball team kicked off its 2013 campaign, the last under head coach Terry Alexander.

The opening series brought the Radford University Highlanders to John Sessions Stadium for a weekend set.

The fans who came out and braved the cold Friday night were treated to an amazing pitching duel and an outstanding performance from junior Chris Anderson.

Anderson, who led the team in innings pitched and strikeouts a year ago, among other categories, looked to be in midseason form on the mound. Anderson, who wound up with a no decision, threw seven strong innings allowing just one hit while striking out 13 Radford batters.

Junior Zach Gordon got the win, throwing four good innings for the Dolphins as well.

With the score knotted at one heading into the bottom half of the 11th inning, senior Ethan Loosen, who brought home the Dolphins first run on an RBI double, sent the 2-1 pitch soaring over the fence giving the Dolphins a 2-1 walk-off win in their opener.

“I hit it well, I’m just happy to help the team and get us off to a good start” Loosen said.
The good start faded though as the Dolphins would drop the remaining two games to the Highlanders.
On Saturday, much like it did many times last year, a big inning for the opposing team spelled doom for the Dolphins. With the score tied up at two in the fifth, Radford capitalized on wild pitches and used timely hitting to knock five runs across the plate, breaking the game open.
Sophomore Alex McRae started on the mound for JU, tossing 4 2/3 innings while allowing two runs and taking the no decision. Josh Baker took the loss for the Dolphins after allowing three runs in one-third of an inning worth of work.
Loosen added a double and an RBI for the second straight game at the plate. Catcher Garrett Ruckel finished 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and an RBI, while Drew Luther added two late RBI’s on a ninth-inning double.
In that ninth inning, the Dolphins put a bit of a surge together but came up just short as the last out was recorded against the wall in center field. Brady North sent the offering deep to center with the bases loaded and two outs with the Dolphins trailing by three, but to no avail, the ball missed getting over the fence by just a few feet. JU fell to the Highlanders 7-4.
After two well-played games, the Dolphins looked drained in the rubber match on Sunday.
As it did so often a year ago and on Saturday, the big inning caught up to the Dolphins yet again as JU fell 11-5.
JU jumped out to an early 2-1 lead when Jake Huxtable lined a two-run home run over the wall in left following a Scott Schaub single. In the top of the fourth, the Highlanders bounced right back scoring eight runs on just five hits as the Dolphins committed three huge errors in the inning.
Starting pitcher Jeff Tanner struggled and took the loss for the Dolphins. Tanner managed to go just 3 1/3 innings as the unraveling in the fourth ended his day.
Again, the Dolphins didn’t go quietly as they scored a run in the eighth as Braddock Rowe singled home Huxtable. They added two more in the ninth as Josh Baker had an RBI triple that plated Loosen. Baker would later score thanks to a Nathan Kowalski grounder.
The Dolphins return to action at FSU on Wednesday then return home to face Richmond over the weekend.