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Opsreys down Bulls: Hannon finds his bat.

The UNF Ospreys baseball team played host to the University of South Florida Bulls Wednesday night, winning a high scoring game 15-9, in front of 313 fans, at Dusty Rhodes Field at Harmon Stadium.

The Ospreys got back on track against USF having lost their last contest against the Bulls 7-10, in Tampa March 23. The win also keeps the Ospreys undefeated record at home against the Bulls intact at 3-0.

The Ospreys hit the ball well throughout most of the game. The Ospreys had seven players with multiple hits which helped add up 15 runs on 18 hits for the game.

“We swung the bat pretty good tonight,” said head coach Dusty Rhodes. “Sometimes that’s hard to do when they keep switching pitchers because you never get used to those guys. If you see one guy a couple of innings you get in some kind of pattern. Our guys have been hitting all year long and that has made a big difference.”

The Ospreys did not get off to the start they hoped for after starting right hander Kyle Westwood gave up three runs in the top of the first inning. The inning also included two errors by the Ospreys.

“You know we have struggled in the first inning all year long,” said Rhodes. “The thing about it is we recovered and came back, swung the bat and scored some runs and kept doing it all night long so that made a big difference for us.”

The Ospreys settled down once they brought in left handed reliever, Josh Patton in the bottom of the third inning. Patton got win while pitching three scoreless innings and only giving up four hits.

After getting one run back in the bottom of the second, the Ospreys got the bats going with a two out rally that produced a five run third to give the Ospreys a 6-3 lead, which they never gave up. The inning included RBIs from first baseman Andrew Karmeris, catcher David Eldredge, and third baseman T.J. Thompson.

The inning also included a two RBI single from left fielder Andrew Hannon, who got his bat going after a recent slump. Hannon finished the game with three hits, four RBIs, and one scored run on five at bats.

“It is just one of those things really it’s the game of baseball,” said Hannon. “You go in to a little funk for a couple weeks. You got to just keep doing what you’re doing. You know it’s a successful thing and you just got to keep pounding away and eventually it will come around.”

It was pitching by committee for both teams Wednesday night. In total, both teams combined to use 15 different pitchers, the Bulls using nine and the Ospreys using six.

“Coming in to this game they were in the same boat we were in,” said Rhodes. “We both had to use a lot of pitchers and that kind of happens.”

The Ospreys took control of the game after another five run inning in the bottom of the fifth which included RBIs from Hannon, Karmeris, center fielder Robbie Collier, and second baseman T.J. Gavlik. Gavlik also scored in the inning on a wild pitch by Bulls right handed reliever, Austin Adams.

The Bulls never really got close after the fifth. The Ospreys added a run in the bottom of the sixth and three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring their run total to 15.

The win was secured when Ospreys right handed closer Casey Medlen, stuck out Bulls left fielder Junior Carlin, with two outs in the top of the ninth. The loss drops USF to 22-27 while improving the Osprey’s record to 27-21.

“We just need to keep this momentum going,” said Hannon. “Keep pitching, playing defense, and make sure our bats keep going and I think we’ll be alright heading in to the conference tournament.”

The Ospreys take the field next this weekend for a three games series against Atlantic Sun Conference rival, Stetson. They play a double header on Saturday with the first game at 1:00 pm and the late game at 4:00 pm. Then on Sunday the Ospreys rap up the series at 1:00 pm. Sunday’s game will also be Dusty Rhodes’ last home game as head coach of the UNF Ospreys.

“We need to go out against Stetson,” said Rhodes. “They’re in the same boat we are. Everybody is playing and trying to get in that tournament. We need to stick together and get it done. That’s what we have to do.”

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