Ospreys walk-off again

Al Huffman

Late-inning heroics have become a nightly occurrence for the Ospreys. Photo by Morgan Purvis
Late-inning heroics have become a nightly occurrence for the Ospreys.
Photo by Morgan Purvis

It’s beginning to seem like Osprey baseball games are scripted Disney movies. For the third time in five games, North Florida ended the game with a walk-off hit in the final inning.

Christian Diaz was 0-for-3 on the day, but tied up in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes and two outs, the junior delivered a line-drive up the middle to score the game-winning RBI.

Coming off of their 13-1 win over Bethune Cookman, North Florida (10-8) returned home to take on USF (10-7) Wednesday night.

The first inning wasn’t the start the Ospreys wanted.

Thanks in part to a homer by USF designated hitter Chris Chatfield with two runners on base, the Bulls got off to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.

Osprey designated hitter Corbin Olmstead responded quickly. With two outs, Olmstead launched a missile out of the park and put the Ospreys on the board trailing 4-1. Olmstead also recorded a hit to start the team’s ninth inning rally, which was number 200 for his career. Olmstead is the 12th Osprey to reach the landmark.

The Ospreys blanked the Bulls for the next six innings. Additionally, they managed to cut the lead to 4-2 after Nick Karmeris got a homer of his own.

After scoreless fourth and fifth innings, North Florida catcher Keith Skinner scored off of a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth. However the Ospreys defensive stand didn’t last forever.

In the top of the eighth, Chatfield managed to hit another homer and break the scoring drought the Bulls suffered since the first inning. This narrowed the scoring margin and made the game 5-3.

“If we played seven inning games we’d have one win,” Head coach Smoke Laval joked. “We weren’t into it tonight. I thought the Florida series, the Wilmington series, even even last night against Bethune [Cookman] we were in it. We moved ground balls, we got them in from third. Ten times tonight if we get a runner over or get him in from third the game’s over.”

Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Ospreys were behind 6-3 and needed to put on a show at the plate to win. Corbin Olmstead singled and got two RBI, putting the Ospreys behind by a single run.

After a Dakota Higdon got an RBI on a  ground out, the score was all tied up with Christian Diaz at bat. Diaz answered the call with a walk-off single to give North Florida the 7-6 win.

“To be honest I didn’t think I was going to come up with anything, I thought someone else was gonna knock the run in,” Diaz said. “I kind of struggled today and so I told myself to shake it off, see a big pitch and hit it hard somewhere.”

Corbin Olmstead continued his hot streak Wednesday night. Olmstead is 7-for-16 with 10 RBI in his last four games and now leads the team with 26 RBI. He is currently riding a 12-game hit streak.

The Ospreys play their next game against Quinnipiac on March 18 from Harmon Stadium.

 

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