FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Following Friday's combined shutout from pitchers Matt Hardy and Josh Glick, the Nova Southeastern offense supplied most of the damage in game one of Saturday's doubleheader before a stunning ninth-inning rally by Palm Beach Atlantic in the series finale prevented the would-be sweep for the Sharks.
The doubleheader split now moves Nova Southeastern to 24-12 on the year after a solid 4-2 home stand.
Sebastian Diaz sparked the Nova Southeastern bats in game one's 12-6 victory with a career-high four runs batted in on a pair of doubles, while right-hander Derik Beauprez improved to 3-0 after earning his first career start on the mound as a Shark. Head coach Greg Brown's club appeared in line to cap a perfect weekend with a 4-2 edge entering the ninth inning of game two, but the Sailfish were able to capitalize on a handful of miscues to escape with the 9-4 comeback.
Facing Palm Beach Atlantic starting pitcher Sean Horner for the second time this season, Nova Southeastern found similar success again on Saturday. The Sharks tagged the senior for six earned runs on six hits in just 3.1 innings.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Jeremy Vasquez wasted no time evening up the contest with a no-doubt bomb to right for his team-leading 11th homer of the season.
The Sailfish reclaimed a 2-1 edge in the ensuing frame on an RBI-groundout. However, Diaz's two-run double in the home half of the inning put the Sharks back on top for good. The third baseman extended Nova Southeastern's cushion to 5-2 an inning later before capping a five-run fourth with a run-scoring double to right center.
Two innings after falling behind, the Sharks reeled off nine unanswered runs to grasp complete control for Beauprez, who didn't need much run support with the way he managed to keep the Sailfish batters consistently off-balance. The junior by way of the University of Miami surrendered just five hits in five innings, while matching a season-high with eight strikeouts – three of those coming in the top of the fourth.
Brendan Cutting and Kevin Suarez each tallied three RBI's apiece to go along with a combined four runs scored in the effort.
Nova Southeastern entered the ninth inning just three outs away from its second sweep in the last three weeks. However, three errors and a wild pitch ignited an otherwise quiet Sailfish offense that had been held scoreless since the second inning.
Southpaw Jonny Ortiz yielded a two-run homer to Palm Beach Atlantic's Andrew Calderone in the top of the second. The senior would limit the damage, though, and eventually settled in to toss a strong six innings on the bump after retiring the final seven batters he'd face on the evening.
Trailing 2-0 in the home half of the fifth, the top of the Nova Southeastern order got the wheels turning for the rest of the lineup. Consecutive singles by Jancarlos Cintron and Dylan Woods placed two aboard when Jake Anchia was plunked for a Sunshine State Conferennce-leading 20th time to load the bases with one out. Brandon Gomez put an end to the shutout with a sacrifice fly, which was then immediately followed by a game-tying single to center off the bat of Suarez. The two-out rally wasn't done just yet, though, as Andrew Liberty then gave the Sharks their first lead with an RBI-single into left that resulted in a pair of runs after an errant throw from the Palm Beach Atlantic left fielder.
That same 4-2 margin would remain heading into the ninth, but a usually-stellar Sharks' defense committed a number of uncharacteristic mistakes and opened the door for a Palm Beach Atlantic team waiting to take advantage.
The 9-4 defeat marked just the second loss for Nova Southeastern this season when leading after eight innings of play.
As if the weekend weren't enough, NSU will travel just up the road to take on the Sailfish for the fifth and final time this season on Tuesday. For complete coverage of the action, log onto NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Twitter @NSU_Baseball.