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UNF Ospreys escape with win over USF

UNF 2, USF 0

Two baseball teams – South Florida and North Florida – faced each other Wednesday night with 12-10 records. The Bulls drove back to Tampa with 11 losses, while the Ospreys extended their winning streak to four.

The Bulls lost 4-3 and gave up many chances to score as they stranded 10 runners on base – nine of them in scoring position. They managed, however, to hold a 3-2 lead going into the ninth inning at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville. Sophomore pitcher Shawn Sanford blew the save by giving up a run in the ninth and tenth innings after freshman Stephen Hunt hit the go-ahead run in the eighth inning for his first hit of the season.

Sanford came into the eighth inning with four wins, four saves and an ERA just over one. With one out in the ninth inning, he gave up a single to UNF sophomore outfielder T.J. Thompson. After that, Sanford’s ERA rose to just under two in the next two innings.

He walked the next batter with four pitches and then gave up a single to sophomore left fielder Preston Hale. The Bulls still had a chance to escape the inning if they could have forced a double play. The next batter, junior designated hitter Travis Martin, hit a sharp grounder to second basemen Addison Maruszak, who bobbled the ball and was only able to get Martin out at first base, allowing a run to score.

A similar set of circumstances played out in the 10th inning. Sanford gave up a single to senior right fielder T.J. Gaudy. Two batters later, Sanford threw another four-pitch walk. Gaudy stole third base, and then Sanford threw a wild pitch that passed the catcher, allowing Gaudy to score.

Hunt, who played the designated hitter, almost saved the game in the eighth inning when he got his first hit of the season, driving in third baseman Brandon Smith. Hunt ended the game with two RBI. In the tenth inning, Hunt was warming up in the bullpen in case the game went further.

USF coach Lelo Prado said in an interview on 1010 AM that he was trying to give some of his players “a night off.” Prado also started junior Mike Consolmango in right field instead of usual starter Brian Hobbs.

USF defeated UNF 7-1 on March 12. That game was a home game. The Ospreys are 10-2 at Harmon Stadium, including a win over No. 19 Central Florida. The Bulls have yet to defeat a ranked team this year.