Three homers not enough as baseball outmatched by UCF in road duel

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of North Florida Ospreys took to the diamond Tuesday to face off against the University of Central Florida, falling short to the Knights 10-3.

Last season saw these squads meet four times, with each team taking two games. UCF is and has been a formidable opponent, but the Ospreys have shown in the past that they have what it takes to best their neighbors to the south.

The Ospreys entered Tuesday’s matchup on a roll, having won six of their last seven games. This included a four-game sweep of the Fordham Rams, in which UNF racked up a total of 34 runs.

This success at the plate didn’t come as easily against UCF, mustering just five hits. This was largely thanks to strong pitching from a trio of Knights, with sophomore Dom Stagliano being credited the win.

Things were quiet on the offensive end early, with the first three innings going scoreless. This came to an end with a home-run swing from second baseman Tom Josten in the bottom of the fourth. The Knights weren’t done, though, tacking on one more via an Andrew Sundean double.

The Ospreys were now facing a two-run deficit, but they didn’t let that phase them any. Freshman phenom Alex Lodise continued his hot streak, connecting on his fifth home run of the season to put UNF on the board.

UNF had cut the lead in half, but a storm was brewing. Unlike the one that hindered play over the weekend at Harmon Stadium, this one was churning in the UCF dugout. UNF pitchers Finn Howell and Ty Angevine found themselves the victims of a six-run explosion by the Knights that saw them extend their lead to 8-1.

UCF didn’t let off the gas, loading the bases in the following inning. Freshman pitcher Brandon Adams came in and limited the damage, though, with the Knights tacking on one more run prior to his entrance.

The Ospreys were in a precarious position, but they clawed at the lead once more with a home run from catcher Jakob Runnels. He later struck again, hitting his second home run of the evening in the top of the ninth. It was far too late by this point, though, as UCF comfortably led 10-3. 

The Knights held onto their large lead, with former Osprey Zach Chappel finishing things off on the mound. He was one of just three pitchers UCF utilized, while UNF emptied its bullpen with eight pitchers making an appearance Tuesday. 

As for the Ospreys, they fall to 8-6 overall. They’ll be back in action at home this weekend, taking on the Fairfield Stags in a three-game set. This will serve as good preparation before they face the No. 6 Florida Gators next Tuesday.


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