Sunday, February 18, 2018
Sports

Baseball: Jesuit bats silenced in first loss of the season

TAMPA—For the first time this season at Hyer Family Park, the line drives smoked into the outfield and the homer sent out of the park and all the way to the football field didn't belong to Jesuit.

In a matchup of highly ranked teams, Miami Gulliver Prep, No. 12 in the state's ESPNHS/Powerade rankings, shut down No. 1 Jesuit en route to a 3-0 victory Saturday. Raiders pitcher Ivan Pelaez, a Miami commitment, only needed 76 pitches to throw a two-hit complete-game shutout, while striking out six and walking none, to hand the Tigers their first loss of the year.

"We swung the bats pretty well tonight and had competitive at-bats, but we didn't have competitive results," coach Richie Warren said, noting that his Tigers (10-1) added nine fly outs. "When you give a team 15 easy outs in a 21-out game, it's going to be hard to score. You take away one bad hop, and we're still playing baseball here in the eighth."

That hop came with two outs in the third and allowed Gulliver Prep (9-3) to score the first run. The next batter, LSU signee Chris Chinea, hit a two-run homer to left that landed in the football bleachers. None of the runs were earned against Tigers pitcher Conor O'Brien, but that was more than enough for Pelaez, who was scheduled to throw four or five innings but went the distance because of his low pitch count.

One highlight for Jesuit was a diving, over-the-shoulder catch by ace pitcher Lance McCullers in his outfield debut. With a runner on in the sixth, McCullers made the catch, spun around and fired a strike to second base, where Vincent Miniet threw on to first to complete a double play.

The Tigers are completely focused on just one goal.

"Now we're going to go out and take care of business, finish district play hopefully undefeated and hopefully try to win a state championship, which is our main goal," McCullers said. "For us, it was never about the perfect record."

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