The Ospreys split a pair of one-run Atlantic Sun tournament games in Nashville, though they’re far from finished. UNF baseball won their third round contest against Lipscomb 1-0, but hours later dropped the semifinal against upstart sixth-seed Stetson 7-6.
The Ospreys play fifth-seeded FGCU at 2:00 p.m today. The winner faces Stetson in the ASUN championship at 5:30 p.m.
Lipscomb Bisons 0 UNF Ospreys 1
It took a walk off triple in the 10th inning by Senior Dakota Higdon for the Ospreys to advance. the rematch of last year’s ASUN title, the 1-0 scoreline was evidence of a pitcher’s duel– nine total hits were allowed. UNF left-handed Freshman Austin Drury had a sensational outing with just two hits allowed and eight strikeouts in eight innings of work. A combination of Corbin Olmstead, Daniel Moritz and Matthew Naylor finished the remaining four batters, with Naylor getting his fifth win of the season. Lipscomb’s Jeffrey Passantino pitched 119 pitches over 9.2 innings, allowing six hits and one walk.
Olmstead, all-conference as a pitcher and a DH, appeared to hit walk off homer that sailed over the fence about 6 feet wide of the foul line, with the dugout ready to storm the field.
In the bottom of the ninth, Bubba Olivera reached first on a fielder’s choice after Chris Berry’s infield single. Then Kyle Brook’s fly ball over the infield resulted in the second out. The Lipscomb manager Jeff Forehand pulled Passantino in favor of left-hander Cody Glenn. On Glenn’s second pitch, Higdon blasted a triple over right-center, scoring Olivera from first and securing the Osprey’s spot in the semifinals.
Stetson Hatters 7 UNF Ospreys 6
Regular season records and stats mean nothing as far as the tournament is concerned. Stetson brought the lowest seed in the tournament with a 28-29 (9-12 A-SUN) record. Despite a mediocre regular season, the Hatters swept the top three teams in the conference: first-seed Kennesaw State in the opener, then third-seed JU, and now second-seeded UNF. The loss ended UNF’s eight-game win streak, the longest by any ASUN team this year. In contrast with the first game’s lack of offense, the Hatters had 13 hits and the Ospreys had 11, with each team using four pitchers.
UNF opened quick with two runs. A Corbin Olmstead double drove Kyle Brooks in from third and Chris Thibideau grounded out, scoring Keith Skinner. The teams split the fourth inning with two runs a piece. Consecutive RBI singles from Hatters Colton Lightner and Vance Vizcaino put the Ospreys in a perilous position. But 1B Austin Hale’s unassisted double play bailed them out.
Stetson senior Cory Reid hit two home runs: a three-run smash in the third inning and a fifth inning solo shot that barely scaled Ken Dugan Field’s 330 feet left field wall.
Though Reid homered in the fifth, the Ospreys leveled the score with a two-run bottom of the inning when Chris Thibideau singled with the bases loaded. The deciding run in the game in the top of the eighth came from Kevin Fagan’s single that scored Jason Fussell from second.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Ospreys came very close to tying. Corbin Olmstead singled to left and manager Smoke Laval replaced the DH with Dalton Board. A sacrifice bunt and a ground out advanced Board to third. Then Stetson closer Walker Heller entered to face Alex Merritt. With 2 outs, Merritt chopped the ball to the shortstop, who threw a hard and low one-hopper that was snatched by first baseman Will Mackenzie, stranding Board at third base and ending the game.
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