Big-Hitting UNF Seventh Proves Too Much in 12-7 Loss
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jumping out to an early lead at North Florida (7-8), the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (9-8) couldn’t maintain the advantage, as the Ospreys swung ahead big on seven runs in the seventh inning to claim the 12-7 non-conference victory at Harmon Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats went to work early on the Ospreys, opening a big-hitting day with consecutive doubles from left fielder Eros Modena and first baseman Eric Sams in the top of the first. With Modena put out at third, Sams crossed the plate for B-CU’s first run on a very long Matt Noble RBI single on the left field line.
However, the Ospreys were quick to counter, with designated hitter Corbin Olmstead scoring on a fielder’s choice in the bottom half, taking advantage of three consecutive singles to tie the game.
The Wildcats went up in the top of the second on freshman designated hitter Austin Garcia’s first career home run, connecting high on the left field scoreboard for the 2-1 lead.
Again UNF responded in the bottom, as left fielder Garrick Ferguson reached on a single and scored on a wild pitch.
In the top of the third, Bethune-Cookman created a little breathing room, as Josh Johnson scored on a Sams sacrifice fly to right. Garcia added another RBI with a backside single to right field, bringing in Noble from second. The Wildcats added another in the top of the fifth, as Sams led off with a line drive double into right, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a Julian Santos single to deep center, granting the Wildcats a 5-2 advantage.
The Ospreys fired back in the bottom of the fifth, using three consecutive singles to again score a runner on a wild pitch, Kyle brooks in that frame. Ryan Roberson followed with a two-run scored single through the left side, knotting the game in a tie at five runs apiece.
The Wildcats regained the lead in the top of the sixth, as sub third baseman Jordan Thomas led off the frame with a single and crossed the plate on a Johnson single to left field.
However, UNF came on strong in the bottom of the frame, opening the scoring floodgates with a four-hit, seven-run outburst, highlighted by a three-run homer by Ferguson and a two-run jack for Olmstead, giving the Ospreys a dominant 12-6 lead with two innings to go.
The Wildcats would score once more in the top of the eighth, as Sams batted in sub catcher Davis Schulz, taking the game to its final margin at 12-7 in favor of North Florida.
Christopher Waltermire (1-2), who relieved starter John Sever in the fifth inning, takes the loss, pitching two innings and allowing three earned runs on three hits. For the Ospreys, Tyler DuPont (1-0) collected the win, pitching two innings.
At the plate, Modena topped the Wildcats, hitting 4-for-5 with one RBI. Garcia went 3-for-5 with two RBI while Sams added two RBI and two runs on 2-for-4 hitting. Despite the loss, the Wildcats put up 17 hits; the second most this year, and the most in a regulation game.
The Wildcats open their next Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) series on Saturday, opening the North Carolina A&T Aggies in a doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.