North Florida’s mistakes lead to a third straight loss

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T Photo by Morgan Purvis

Will Weber

Poor defense and untimely, two-out errors contributed to the Osprey baseball team’s 9-8 defeat Saturday against the Hartford Hawks.

Hartford scored all nine runs following potential inning-ending errors by the Ospreys. First baseman Chris Berry dropped a line drive that would have ended the top of the second inning, allowing Hartford’s next hitter, Billy Walker, to capitalize with a three-run homer.

The Ospreys responded in the bottom of the second, when 3B Alex Merritt cranked a grand slam over the left-field fence, giving the team a three run lead.

In the fifth inning poor defense struck the Ospreys again, when miscommunication between 2B Patrick Ervin and RF Nick Karmeris allowed a routine pop-fly to drop with two-outs, scoring one. SP Matt Vaka was pulled for Frank German, and the Hawks subsequently tacked on four more runs to take a one run lead.

The Ospreys responded again when Karmeris ripped a shot to left scoring Chris Thibideau and tying the game.

In the top of the eighth, UNF Head Coach Smoke Laval was ejected after arguing with the home plate umpire over his inconsistent strike zone. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third and one out, Ervin booted a grounder, allowing the Hawks to score what would be the game winning run.

SP Matt Vaka went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs. All five runs came after errors that would have ended the inning.

“You don’t want to get down on yourself, you don’t want to get down on others,” Vaka said. “Errors are part of the game.”

The Ospreys had a shot to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth with runners on second and third and one out, but a line drive to the shortstop led to an inning ending double play and killed momentum.

Osprey catcher Keith Skinner went 4-5, had two RBI’s and gunned down two Hawks attempting to steal second.

Alex Merritt hit his team-leading second homerun of the season and had six RBI’s on the day.

The Ospreys have now lost three games in a row and are in danger of being swept in its series against Hartford. The final game of the series will be Sunday at 1 p.m. from Harmon Stadium.

Video shot and edited by Will Weber

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