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Ospreys sweep series, hit two walk-offs against UNC Wilmington

 Photo by Will Weber
Photo by Will Weber

The North Florida Ospreys (9-8) followed a 52 minute rain delay with a walk-off triple in the bottom of the ninth to sweep the series against UNC Wilmington (9-5) on March 13.

Game 1

Friday night was a low scoring game in which the Ospreys held the Seahawks to no runs until the eighth inning. UNF tacked one run on in the third, when shortstop Kyle Brooks drove Alex Merritt home. An errant throw by Brooks in the eighth would allow the tying Seahawk run to cross the plate, sending the game to extra innings.

At the top of the 11th the Seahawks managed to get a run on a sacrifice fly to center field, putting them ahead and in position to win the game.

In the bottom of the 11th. Chris Thibideau responded emphatically with his first homer as an Osprey, a two-run walk-off blast.

Starting pitcher Bryan Baker went 7.2 innings, his second longest start of his career, and struck out five while giving up just one run.

Game 2

The Seahawks never came close to being in the game. By the time UNCW scored its first run in the fourth inning, the Ospreys were up seven runs.

The Ospreys dominated the game with 12 RBIs, including three from both Christian Diaz and Alex Merritt. The game was a blowout, and when the final inning ended North Florida won 13-1.

“I thought we came out swinging pretty well,” Diaz said. “I mean 15 hits is always good especially against a good team like UNC Wilmington. It was important to establish our offense early and with [redshirt junior LHP Tyler] Dupont pitching the way he did it made it real easy.”

Game 3

The Ospreys went into the final game of the series looking to sweep the Seahawks, who came in with an impressive 9-2 record.


There was no scoring drought to start the game, as both teams got on the board in the first inning. North Florida took the early 2-1 lead thanks to a two-run homer by catcher Keith Skinner. The Ospreys would go on to score runs in the second and third inning.

North Florida’s defense finally started to get back on track and held the Seahawks to zero runs in the third inning, but more importantly they managed to blow the game wide open on the scoring end with four runs to secure the 8-3 lead.

The Seahawks tightened the game up in the fourth with two runs, making it 8-5.

After a scoreless fifth inning, Alex Merritt got an RBI to pad the 9-5 lead. The cushion was short-lived. UNCW scored three runs in the seventh and cut the deficit to 9-8.

In the top of the ninth, a critical error by left fielder Dakota Higdon allowed two Seahawk RBIs to score for the 10-9 lead. After scoring one more run, the Ospreys went up to bat in the bottom of the ninth trailing 11-9.

The excitement went on hold when dark clouds rolled in and led to a 52-minute weather delay. Eventually the game would resume and a few dedicated fans hung around to watch the closing action.

With two outs, two strikes, and the bases loaded, senior designated hitter Corbin Olmstead hit a bases-clearing triple to win the game for the Ospreys 12-11.

“It’s a little bit of anxiety, but I’ve been in that situation before for the ‘Spreys [North Florida Ospreys].” Olmstead said. “I’ve come through here and there and haven’t [come through] so I know what it feels like to be successful and fail. So I just wanted to get comfortable in there and give it my best swing and whatever happens happens.”

The two teams combined for 32 hits and 23 runs in the high-scoring affair.

The Ospreys play their next game at Bethune Cookman on March 15.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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