The game had the atmosphere of a college baseball regional final, with future college (and pro) players filling the lineups for both teams, playing at Alex Rodriguez Field on the University of Miami. Gulliver vs. Jesuit was billed as the top matchup of the year, bolstered by the pitching matchup of Lance McCullers vs. Ivan Peleaz. The game did not disappoint with Gulliver winning 7-6 on a walk-off single by SS Adrian Marin in the 10th inning.
McCullers threw very well over five innings, giving up six hits and three runs, walking four and striking out two. While the strikeout numbers aren’t as gaudy as in his previous stints, he held a Gulliver offense, that routinely scores double digit runs, at bay. McCullers threw 81 pitches, 47 for strikes, and worked 94-95 with his fastball and was reportedly up to 98 on some radar guns.
Peleaz also threw well in his first start of the season, sitting 85-86 over the first three innings before hitting 88-89 in the 4thand 5th. He threw six innings, giving up 11 hits and five runs,four earned, striking out three.
Gulliver struck first with two runs in the first but Jesuit fought back to take a 5-3 lead after four innings. Gulliver scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth off Jesuit reliever Spencer Trayner to tie the game.
The game moved to extra innings with the teams trading runs in the 8th inning with Jesuit one strike away from a win before singles by Johnny Ruiz, Eric Neitzel and Chris Chinea tied the game. Gulliver reliever Randy Boza shut down Jesuit in the top of the 9th, setting the stage for the Gulliver offense in the bottom of the inning.
RF Henry Hernandez doubled to the left center gap and Marin followed with a single, his third hit of the day, to give the Raiders the victory.
Boza picked up the win, throwing four innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out two. Trayner took the loss for Jesuit giving up four runs on six hits in his four innings, walking two and striking out four.
Along with Marin’s three hits, Gulliver was led by stars Neitzel and Chinea, each of whom had two hits and two RBI, and DH Chris Diaz, who added a pair of hits and two RBI of his own.
Trayner had three hits for Jesuit and C Nolan Schultz continued his hot hitting with three hits and two RBI.
Gulliver moves to 10-2 on the year and resumes play Fridayagainst Tampa Catholic.
Jesuit falls to 9-3 and is back in action this weekend against Tampa Jefferson and Providence.
In one of the biggest matchups of the year in high school baseball, Tampa Jesuit travels to Miami to take on Gulliver Prep at Alex Rodriguez Park on the campus of the University of Miami.
The Saturday, 5 pm matchup will follow the championship game of the Selective Recruiting Invitational Tournament, featuring some of the top teams in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
The Jesuit/Gulliver matchup is no doubt the headliner of the day, with a pitching matchup of Lance McCullers and Ivan Pelaez.
McCullers, a Florida commit, is Perfect Game’s top ranked player in the 2012 class and was up to 96 mph last weekend, beating previously undefeated Bishop Verot 9-2. He struck out ten in 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit and two unearned runs. He has shown one of the fastest and loosest arms in the nation consistently showing mid 90s velocity as well as a power curveball and great feel for an 83 mph changeup. He was extremely impressive in all aspects at last year’s Junior National Showcase. He threw 97 mph across the infield, tying Bishop Moore’s Sean Trent for the PG showcase record as well as showing outstanding footwork and actions. He also showed loose extension and good bat speed at the plate with lots of power potential.
Pelaez will be making his first start of the year after sitting out the early season with a leg injury. Since coming back he has been lights out in relief, striking out 11 in 6 2/3 innings. A Miami commit, he pitched on the 16U National Team last summer, picking up a win and giving up four runs in nine innings. He is currently ranked #343 in the country.
Gulliver, ranked #1 in the first two national polls, fell to #7 in the latest after suffering their second loss of the season Friday, 9-6 to Doral Academy. They dropped their first game of the season February 24th to American Heritage. The Raiders have seven players committed to Miami, joining Pelaez. The others are juniors SS Adrian Marin, 3B Eric Neitzel, CF Ricky Eusebio, C Chris Chinea, sophomore 2B John Ruiz, and senior LHP Chris Diaz.
Jesuit also has one of the most talented teams in the country, currently ranking 17th in the country. Along with McCullers, the junior class has three other commits, RHP Connor O’Brien (Florida), OF Vincent Leto (South Florida), and C Joey Altieri (South Florida). Sophomore RHP/IF Spencer Trayner is rated #40 in the 2013 class and is a highly sought after prospect.
The game will be a huge test for Gulliver as it tries to prove it can maintain its top ten ranking against one of the top pitchers in the country, and a test for McCullers as he tries to shut down a very potent lineup led by Neitzel and Chinea.
Check back early next week for the game recap.
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