The Osprey’s trend of nail-biting finishes continued Tuesday night, when a UCF error in the bottom of the ninth allowed Dakota Higdon to race home from second base for the team’s fifth walk-off win of the season.
UNF managed to load the bases in the final inning after Higdon ripped a one-out double down the right field line, advancing Patrick Ervin to third who started the rally with a walk. The Knights then intentionally walked power-hitter Corbin Olmstead to set up the possibility of an inning-ending double play. The plan seemed to work when Keith Skinner hit a weak grounder to the pitcher which appeared to be a tailor-made 1-2-3 double play, but UCF catcher George Anthony sent the ball sailing over the first baseman’s head, allowing Higdon to score and a dog-pile celebration to ensue.
UCF scored two runs in the third, but the Ospreys answered with a two-run third of its own in the back-and-forth affair. North Florida took a one-run lead in the fourth when Dalton Board hit a looping chopper to third base that floated in the air long enough to allow Nick Karmeris to score from third without a throw.
The Knights bounced right back in the following inning, when Austin Griffin was ruled out on an infield fly with the bases loaded. The ball was not caught, and the runner on third was able to advance home for the tying run.
Sophomore Brad Deppermann made his second start for the Ospreys, giving up five hits and three runs in four innings of work. The only black-eye of his otherwise solid performance came in the top of the third, when Ryan Crile smashed a two-run homer over the right-field fence.
The UNF bullpen once again put the team on its back and carried them to victory down the stretch with five scoreless innings in which they allowed just two hits. Daniel Moritz threw a career-high 3.1 innings, striking out three batters and allowing one hit. Alex Smith closed the door and earned his second win of the season.
By the Numbers
0: The Ospreys had 0 errors to UCF’s two, which ultimately decided the game.
3: The bullpen has not allowed a run in the last 3 games.
10: UNF has won 10 consecutive games at Harmon Stadium.
14.2: Alex Smith has thrown 14.2 innings in relief this season, and has yet to give up a single run.
32: Corbin Olmstead extended his league-leading streak of reaching base safely to 32 games with two walks.
The Ospreys will be back on the diamond Wednesday night for a 5:00 p.m. road game against Savannah State. UNF is 1-0 against Savannah State this year, and sophomore Matt Vaka (2-1) will be on the hill.
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