Standings and Scenarios
Jacksonville (15-4): Clinches No. 1 seed in ASUN Championship with a win on Friday
Stetson (13-6): Clinches No. 1 seed in ASUN Championship with two wins AND two Jacksonville losses
FGCU (11-8): Clinches No. 3 seed in ASUN Championship with two wins AND a North Florida loss
North Florida (11-8): Clinches No. 3 seed in ASUN Championship with two wins
Kennesaw State (10-9): Clinches No. 3 seed in ASUN Championship with two wins AND two North Florida losses
Lipscomb (9-10): Clinches No. 5 seed with two wins AND a Kennesaw State loss
LakePoint, Ga. - Jacksonville secured a share of the ASUN Conference Baseball regular season title with a win on Thursday, as FGCU and Lipscomb both bettered their odds of grabbing a higher postseason seed.
Despite being outhit 14-8 over 11 innings, the Dolphins took a 5-4 decision over North Florida in leg one of this year's River City Rivalry series. Freshman Scott Dubrule drove in the go ahead run for JU in the 11th after shooting a single through the left side to score Dakota Julylia. The second baseman finished the night with two knocks and two RBIs, giving the first-year player the fifth multi-RBI performance of his career. Sam Armstrong continues to hammer it at the plate, getting his fifth extra-base hit in as many games with a double in the fourth. The junior leads his team's regular lineup with a .510 slugging percentage and eight homers on the year.
Chris Gau tossed an impressive six-inning start, but was unable to secure the winning decision, despite holding the hosting Ospreys to just two runs. Shane Wise's shutout 10th would move the reliever's season record to 4-1, while Tyler Santana was able to earn his second save of the season with a perfect 11th. The JU pitching staff held UNF to just a single extra-base hit on the night, while striking out a combined 11 batters.
FGCU used the long ball to its advantage to move to 11-8 in conference play and hop Kennesaw State in the ASUN standings. The Eagles went yard against the Owls four times, with Nick Rivera accounting for two of those taters. The five-year senior is now tied for first in the conference with 14 home runs on the season, and his four RBIs on the night give him an ASUN-best 49 on the year. Thursday's game against KSU marks the third time this year Rivera has finished with multiple home runs, while his career total of 40 is tied for second in D-I program history.
Starting FGCU hurler Kutter Crawford showed why he is one of the top-ranked pitchers in the ASUN, with his five-inning, one-run, start against KSU. The righty struck out only four batters but managed to limit the hard-hitting Owls to just two knocks before getting lifted at the start of the sixth. Parker Hamilton, Ryan Ahern and Christian Townsend would keep their hosts scoreless through the final four frames of the night, as Crawford's performance gives him a 1.76 ERA, second only to Stetson's Logan Gilbert for an ASUN lead.
Apart from the two-run homer he gave up in the first inning, Lipscomb's Jeffrey Passantino was near perfect in the Bisons' 3-2 win over Stetson. Passantino sat down eight Hatters on strikes over his eight innings of work without issuing a single walk. His aggressiveness to the plate earned him his fourth win of 2017, giving the righty a win in two of his past three starts. Although he sits at just 4-2, Passantino has been one of Lipscomb's strongest arms this season, tossing seven-plus innings on eight occasions while holding a 2.93 ERA.
The Bisons scored in a variety of ways, with Zeke Dodson registering the team's only RBI of the night on a groundout in the sixth inning. The Bisons' other two runs came on a fielding error and a wild pitch, as the home team went hitless in seven of nine frames on the evening. Michael Gigliotti expanded on his ASUN-leading walk tally with his 50th of the year, on the way to scoring his league-best 21st run in conrference-play.
Back-to-back jacks and a five-run inning propelled NJIT to its second conference win of 2017. The Highlanders improved their all-time record against USC Upstate to 3-0 with a 7-5 victory over the Spartans in South Carolina. Matt Cocciadiferro and Jesse Uttendorfer tallied NJIT's two long balls of the night, with the former tying a career-high three runs driven in. Cocciadiferro and Uttendorfer each tallied doubles as well, as the Highlanders reached five extra-base hits for the seventh time this season.
Andres Fernandez garnered his second win of the 2017 season, after coming in relief of starter Brian Sondergard. Bryan Haberstroh earned his fourth save of the year on 3.2 innings of shutout work, while limiting Upstate to just a single hit during his time on the bump. All five of the Spartans' runs were unearned, as the NJIT pitching staff held a 0.00 ERA for the night.
With all six seeds still up in the air, the next two days of ASUN play stand to get increasingly interesting. With a single win JU can secure a No. 1 seed in the postseason, while Stetson has already guaranteed itself a spot in the top-two of the coming ASUN Championship. All four series will continue this Friday, with the River City Rivalry appearing on ASUN.TV.
Thursday May 18th Scores
Jacksonville 5, North Florida 4; Box Score
W: Wise (4-1) SV: Santana (2) L: Naylor (2-5)
FGCU 8, Kennesaw State 1; Box Score
W: Crawford (6-1) L: Dibrell (6-4)
Lipscomb 3, Stetson 2; Box Score
W: Passantino (4-2) SV: Norman (6) L: Wilson (4-6)
NJIT 7, USC Upstate 5; Box Score
W: Fernandez (2-3) SV: Haberstroh (4) L: Campbell (3-5)
Friday May 19th Schedule
Jacksonville at North Florida - 4 PM (ASUN.TV)
NJIT at USC Upstate - 6 PM (ESPN3)
FGCU at Kennesaw State - 6 PM (ESPN3)
Stetson at Lipscomb - 6 PM CT (ESPN3)