Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short In 6-2 Loss to Ospreys
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Following six shutout innings for both squads, North Florida (28-20, 9-12) was able to strike earlier and more often than Belmont (29-19, 13-8) during the final three frames, winning the series with a 6-2 victory over the Bruins on Sunday afternoon at Rose Park.
Belmont and UNF had both only used two pitchers going into the rubber game, as four complete games were thrown on Friday and Saturday combined. Things felt eerily similar through Sunday's first six innings, as freshman James Buckelew (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and the Osprey's Tyler Moore both had one-hit shutouts going.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, North Florida went on to score at least one run in the seventh, eighth, and ninth to all but put the game away. Buckelew walked three batters, including one intentional pass after a sacrifice bunt left a base empty, which loaded the bases and led to the first relief pitcher of the series.
Freshman Austin Coley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) was able to get out of the jam, allowing only one run in the seventh, but North Florida then did its major damage in the eighth. A single, a triple, and a home run by Ryan Roberson put the Ospreys on top by a score of 4-0.
The Bruins tried to rally in the bottom half of the eighth, as senior Phillip Parsley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.) each singled, but a double play and a pop up cooled the Bruins' offense. Parsley's single through the infield to lead off the frame extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games.
The Ospreys added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth on three singles and an intentional walk. Belmont, with only three outs remaining, got out to a great start in the ninth as senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) recorded an inside the park home run to lead off the frame.
Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) singled to right center field, which finally forced North Florida to go to its bullpen. Moore was relieved by Evan Stermer, who got the next two batters to ground out, and then gave way to Chandler Jagodzinski. Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) drove in Turner on a single through the infield, but a strikeout then ended the game for the Bruins.
Belmont finished with two runs on six hits and no errors. Buckelew fell to 5-1 on the season after allowing just one run on one hit in 6.1 innings pitched. The left-hander struck out three and walked three in the defeat. Six Bruins recorded hits, as Mitchell's homer highlighted the BU offense.
North Florida totaled six runs on seven hits and one error. Moore improved to 6-2 on the season after allowing two earned runs on five hits in eight innings pitched. The right-hander struck out eight batters and walked two in the win. Joe Wielbruda led the Osprey offense with two hits, including a triple.
Belmont will next play at UT Martin in a non-conference contest on Wednesday, May 9 at 6:00 p.m. The Bruins will then return to A-Sun action, traveling to Florida Gulf Coast for a three-game weekend series in Fort Myers, Fla.