North Florida Baseball: Weekend Roundup

Will Weber

Photo by Morgan Purvis
Photo by Morgan Purvis

It was the top of the ninth, and the Osprey baseball team was down by two runs with runners on first and second with preseason All-American Corbin Olmstead at the plate. The stage was set for a hero, but Olmstead hit a weak grounder to the shortstop, resulting in a momentum-killing double play that stunted the Osprey comeback and epitomized the current four game losing streak.

UNF played Hartford in a three game series this weekend, dropping all three due to poor hitting with runners in scoring position and lackluster defense. The Ospreys managed to get the tying run on base in the ninth inning of all three games, but were never able to capitalize.

Game 1

In the series opener Friday night, Hartford starting pitcher Kyle Gauthier was dominant, giving up seven hits and one run in a complete game win. A two-run homerun by Hartford’s Chris DelDebbio was the only offense of the night for the Hawks, but it was enough to propel the team towards a 2-1 win.

An RBI single by catcher Keith Skinner in the bottom of the sixth brought the Ospreys within one. UNF got two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, but weren’t able to drive them home.

Skinner went 3-3 and knocked home his fourth RBI of the year.

Osprey starting pitcher Bryan Baker went six innings and struck out a career-high seven batters, but was charged with the loss despite the strong performance.

Matthew Naylor pitched the final three innings, allowing two hits and no runs.

Game 2

The Ospreys lost the second game 9-8, and all nine of Hartford’s runs came after, or as the result of two-out errors.

UNF first baseman Chris Berry dropped a line drive that would have ended the inning, allowing Hartford’s next batter, Bill Walker, to capitalize with a three-run homer.

In the top of the fifth inning, a miscommunication between Osprey second baseman Patrick Ervin and right fielder Nick Karmeris caused a routine pop-fly to drop with two outs, allowing the runner on third to score. The Hawks would tack on four more runs in the inning.

Ervin misplayed a groundball in the top of the eighth, allowing what would be the game winning run to score.

The UNF offense woke up in the second game. 3B Alex Merritt hit a grand slam in the second inning, continuing his hot streak. Merritt has multiple hits in four of the last five games.

Kameris went 2-4 and had two RBI’s. Skinner went 4-5 with two RBI’s and gunned down two Hawk baserunners trying to steal second.

Osprey starting pitcher Matt Vaka went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs.

Game 3

The Osprey offense struggled again in clutch situations in the third game, leading to a 3-2 loss.

In the bottom of the third, the Ospreys had a runner on third with two outs, but Kyle Brooks was unable to drive him home.

A lead-off homer by Nick Kameris tied the game in the fourth, but the Ospreys stranded go-ahead runs at first and second to end the inning.

UNF managed to get runners on first and second in the eighth, but a back-breaking double play ended the inning.

Hartford walked two Ospreys in the ninth, giving the team hope, but Corbin Olmstead hit into a 6-4-3 double play killing the rally. The next batter hit a single to right scoring one, but Chris Thibideau grounded out to third to end the game.

The Ospreys next game will be Tuesday Mar. 2, against JU at Harmon Stadium.