Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Murphy Gives JU a Leg to Stand on; Injured Hitter Helps Dolphins Win, Stay Alive in Athens Regional

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Murphy Gives JU a Leg to Stand on; Injured Hitter Helps Dolphins Win, Stay Alive in Athens Regional

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN KALTEFLEITER

ATHENS, Ga. -- A right leg about as useful as a maxed-out credit card couldn't keep Daniel Murphy out of the Jacksonville University baseball lineup.

With the Dolphins on elimination's edge at the NCAA Tournament's Athens Regional on Saturday afternoon, JU coach Terry Alexander inserted his injured leading hitter into the starting lineup for the first time in seven games.

Smart decision.

Murphy drove in the decisive run in the eighth inning, and the Dolphins beat Sacred Heart 4-3 for their first regional-game victory since 2001.

JU (43-18) will face the Georgia/Florida State loser at 1 p.m. today in an elimination game. Sacred Heart, which made its first Division 1-A postseason appearance since moving from Division II in 2000, is eliminated.

Alexander's decision to start Murphy as the designated hitter was intended to jolt a Dolphins offense that produced just three hits during an 18-0 tournament-opening loss to Florida State.

Murphy came through, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, the last one scoring Gordie Gronkowski from first base to give JU a 4-1 lead.

Murphy was afraid that he wouldn't play this weekend because of a strained right hamstring and a hyperextended knee, injuries he suffered almost three weeks ago while sliding into second base against Mercer.

"I was hoping my hamstring would come along ... and thankfully, it did," said Murphy, whose short-step baserunning Saturday resembled that of Babe Ruth. "I have no problem hitting. I would just love somebody to run for me."

Sacred Heart (26-30) went 15 consecutive innings without scoring a run at the tournament but pressed the Dolphins in the bottom of the seventh when Jason Maiella hit a one-out, run-scoring double into left field. But JU reliever Matt Davis entered, struck out Rob Tencza and coaxed Tim Lantz into a groundout to third base. …

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