Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jesuit (23-0) finds another source of strength

TAMPA — Jesuit has the dangerous batting order, the always necessary 1-2 punch in its starting rotation, the consensus No. 1 ranking in the nation — and the swagger that goes along with it.

But with perfection on the line Tuesday, the Tigers needed some help from seldom-used reliever Daryl Belluccia.

Despite a five-run deficit in the third inning, Jesuit survived a scare against rival Tampa Catholic, beating the Crusaders 12-9 — in part thanks to some clutch middle-relief work from the senior right-hander.

"I think we took their best shot early," Jesuit coach Richie Warren said. "We've learned how to win a lot of different ways when we get down early. Sometimes it's by chipping away. Sometimes we get a big inning."

Jesuit faced its largest deficit of the season when Tampa Catholic took a 7-2 lead in the third inning on Eddie Fuentes' two-run homer off Jesuit starter Willi Martin.

But the Tigers sent 11 to the plate in a seven-run fourth, highlighted by Lance McCullers' two-run double — his ninth of the season — followed by a two-run homer by Jimmy Falla that tied the game. Greg Dupell then followed with an RBI single that gave the Tigers the lead.

Belluccia — who at 5-foot-10, 240 pounds looks more like a defensive tackle than a pitcher — relieved Martin with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth with Jesuit leading 9-7. He immediately induced a popup to the catcher then struck out the next Crusader to end the threat.

"I was hoping the bats would come around so I could get in the game," said Belluccia, who entered with just 92/3 innings this season. "I'm always on call."

In the sixth, Belluccia stranded runners at first and second in the sixth against the heart of the TC order.

Chris Reinhart, one of four Jesuit batters with multiple hits (Falla, Austin Hartzler and Brian Traina were the others) then added a two-run homer to straightaway center in the sixth and McCullers hit a homer in the seventh before getting the final two outs for his third save in as many games.

TC's Shane Rowland was 2-for-2 with two walks.

The Tigers played without starting shortstop Nick Lockwood, who was on crutches with a brace on his left ankle. Lockwood suffered the injury in last week's Jesuit Easter Baseball Tournament championship game. Warren said he hopes the senior will return in time to play in the Class 5A-10 district tournament next week at Jefferson.

First, the Tigers (23-0) will head to Sarasota today with a perfect regular season on the line.

Jesuit (23-0) finds another source of strength 04/22/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 12:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December


    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  3. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus


    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.
  4. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick


    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.