ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.- Although the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team would have loved a 3-0 weekend including a sweep of Flagler College, the Sailfish will gladly take two out of three as the Blue and White followed up their come-from-behind win over Flagler with a 15-0 drubbing of the Saints the following afternoon. Later that afternoon the Fish would fall 4-3 to #29-ranked Limestone College for the neutral site weekend finale.
T.J. Harbuck and freshman Byron Skinner combined on a four-hit shutout of Flagler College (6-6) in the opener as Palm Beach Atlantic belted out a season-high 18 hits and scored 15 runs against Saints pitching that wasn’t helped by seven errors in the field by the Flagler defense.
Harbuck returned from resting the past few weeks to make his second start of the season and first since opening day on February 1st and showed why the Sailfish coaching staff is very high on the young right-hander with five innings of shutout baseball while allowing only one hit, walking three batters, and striking out six batters.
Skinner would tally the final four innings in relief while allowing only three hits and striking out three batters.
Although the Fish did not connect for a longball and managed just four extra base-hits in the game, they would take advantage of their opportunities early and often to the tune of a blowout win.
After both teams went scoreless in the first inning, PBA got on the board in the top of the second inning with a sacrifice fly from Taylor Kaprive then adding on with two more runs in the top of the third inning on a pair of Flagler errors.
Three run-scoring singles from Ethan Perla, Nick Natale, and Travis Murray followed in the top of the fourth inning to move ahead more comfortably by a 6-0 lead.
Perla added a RBI single in the top of the fifth to plate Yogi Gunther who doubled to leadoff the frame while Brooks Fleming came through with a RBI single of his own to move ahead 8-0 after four and a half innings.
After another run in the sixth inning for PBA made it 9-0 on a RBI single from Kaprive, the Fish really broke things open with an unearned run in the seventh and four more runs in the eighth inning thanks to an Ismael Cotto two-run double and a Sawyer Smith RBI single.
Every PBA starter had at least one hit except for Matt Civetti who drew a pair of walks while Perla and Murray led the way with three hits each. Natale finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base while Cotto finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two runs driven in after entering for Natale as a replacement.
Game two featured a more old-fashioned pitcher’s duel as PBA sent left-hander Jonathan Kies to the hill for his second start of the season. The sophomore southpaw would go four innings while allowing four runs (three earned) with four walks and two strikeouts.
Sophomore Alejandro De Moya would relieve Kies and pitch very effectively with five innings of shutout relief including only allowing three hits and striking out seven to keep PBA in the ballgame.
PBA took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Gunther contributed a two-out RBI single. Limestone evened the score a half inning later as PBA committed an error for the unearned run.
Limestone added two more runs to their tally in the top of the third inning as a sacrifice fly and RBI double brought home the pair to move ahead 3-1.
Back-to-back leadoff walks by Kies set up a scoring chance for Limestone in the fifth inning that called De Moya into the game. Limestone would connect for another RBI single to move ahead 4-1.
PBA would chip away at the LC lead in the fifth and sixth innings as Kaprive came in to score on a wild pitch in the fifth and Civetti contributed a RBI double in the sixth.
The LC bullpen however would buckle down for the final three innings as the Fish fell one run short in a 4-3 final to break their seven game winning streak.