JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – North Florida used a four-run frame in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday afternoon to erase a 6-5 deficit and defeat Lipscomb baseball 13-6 in the second game of the Atlantic Sun Conference series at Harmon Stadium.
“Today was a tail of two halves,” Lipscomb skipper Jeff Forehand said. “We dominated the first part of the game and they (UNF) dominated the second. Jeffrey (Passantino) didn’t have his best stuff today, we I thought he pitched well enough to win.
“When North Florida started their string of runs, we couldn’t stop it. We have to be able to weather that storm whenever it happens. This was a tough loss for us today.”
With the loss Lipscomb falls to 24-22 on the season and 8-6 in the A-Sun, while UNF improved to 29-16 overall and 8-6 in conference play. The loss halts a 5-game win streak against league foes for the Bisons.
UNF reliever Alex Smith earned the win for the Ospreys, improving to 2-0 on the season. The righthander fired two innings of shutout ball, while giving up just one hit.
Sophomore Jeffrey Passantino started the game for Lipscomb, but before he could even get to the mound, the Bisons had a 3-run advantage.
The Purple and Gold strung together five consecutive two-out hits in the first inning, including RBI-singles from Allan Hooker and Von Watson to give Lipscomb a 3-0 lead.
UNF got on the board in the home half of the frame after Kyle Brooks led off with a double before coming around to score two batters later to make it 3-1 Bisons.
Freshman designated hitter Cade Sorrells continued the hit parade for Lipscomb with a leadoff single up the middle in the top of the third. Tevin Symonette then doubled down the right field line to put runners at second and third.
Two batters later, Watson knocked in Sorrells with a ground ball to short, pushing the lead to 4-1.
“The offense swung the bat well today,” Forehand said. “We had a few guys with multiple hits, including Cade. He is really seeing the ball right now and we just have to keep him going.”
The Bisons tacked on their final two tallies in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Adam Lee and a fielder’s choice ground out from Sorrells.
The Ospreys would not go quietly. In the bottom of the fourth Chris Berry doubled to right, allowing Chris Thibideau to score after reaching on a triple. The RBI cut Lipscomb’s lead to 6-2.
In the fifth stanza Corbin Olmstead trimmed the lead with a 2-run home run to right field, his 10th dinger of the season.
Trailing 6-5 UNF would feast on the Lipscomb bullpen with four-run frames in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 13-6 lead and put the game out of reach for Lipscomb.
“Any time you give up eight runs in the back half of the game, it is going to be hard to win,” Forehand said.
Passantino tossed 5.1 innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits. He struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Senior southpaw Cody Glenn took the loss, falling to 2-3. He gave up four runs on five hits in one inning of relief.
Around the Horn:
- Lipscomb pounded out 16 hits in the defeat. The Bisons now have double-digit hits in seven straight games.
- Five players had multiple hits Saturday. Sorrells, Solomon and Dodson each had three, while Lee and Symonette had two.
- With his sacrifice fly, Adam Lee picked up his league-leading 52nd RBI of the season.
- The loss halts a 5-game win streak against conference foes for the Bisons.
- After being thrown out twice, Lipscomb is now 0-for-5 on stolen bases this weekend.
The Bisons and Ospreys will wrap the series with another noon start time on Sunday. Freshman Kyle Kemp will make his second career start for the Purple and Gold with a 2-1 record and a 5.89 ERA. He will face off against UNF’s freshman southpaw Austin Drury (4-1, 4.35 ERA).
“We have to come out and play with the same spunk we played with in the first half of today’s game,” Forehand said. “Not only do we need to come out like that, but we also have to maintain it. We are a pretty solid baseball team, but there are also other good teams out there like North Florida. Hopefully we will be ready to roll tomorrow.”