Outfielder Doug Bream
The North Florida Ospreys broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the fourth inning and then held off the visiting Liberty Flames the rest of the way, en route to an 8-5 win the second game of a doubleheader at Harmon Stadium, Saturday. Liberty won the first game, 4-2, for a split of the twinbill.
Liberty falls to 2-5 on the season. North Florida moves to 4-2 on the year.
Host North Florida opened the game by sending eight men to the plate, staking itself to a 4-0 advantage. First baseman Andrew Hannon singled and second baseman Shane Kennedy walked to open the inning. After both moved into scoring position on a passed ball, Harmon scored the first run of the game with a RBI grounder. Two batters later, Kennedy came home on a fielder's choice grounder by right fielder Tyler Marincov, making it 2-0. Left fielder Alex Bacon and designated hitter Robbie Collier followed with two-out, RBI singles for an early 4-0 lead.
Liberty countered with three runs in the top of the second inning to slice its host's advantage to 4-3. Left fielder Doug Bream and right fielder Michael Robertson each singled to begin the inning. Bream scored the first run of the game for the Flames, when designated hitter Jeff Jefferson reached on a throwing error by Osprey third baseman Andrew Karmeris. Three batters later, second baseman Zack Haley singled back through the middle with two outs, chasing home both Robertson and Jefferson to cut the North Florida advantage to one.
The Flames tied the contest with one swing of the bat in the third. Catcher Casey Rasmus led off the inning with his first home run of the season, knotting the game at 4-4.
In the fourth inning, North Florida went back on top in the contest, with three runs. With two outs and runners on first and second bases, Hannon dropped a RBI single into left field to make it 5-4. After Kennedy walked to load the bases, Michael Smith single home two more runs, giving the Ospreys a 7-4 lead.
Liberty pushed across a run in the top of the seventh inning, without a hit. Shortstop Matt Williams reached on a fielding error by North Florida shortstop Sam Perry and moved to second base on an errant throw by catcher Kyle Dahl. Rasmus followed with a bunt, which Osprey pitcher Kyle Westwood threw by the first base bag, allowing Williams and cut the North Florida lead to 7-5.
In the bottom of the inning, the Ospreys extended their advantage. After the first two batters of the frame reached, Marincov bunted, attempting to move the runners into scoring position. However, the throw to first base by Rasmus was wide for an error, allowing a run to score, upping the North Florida edge to 8-5. After a pitching change, reliever Dane Beakler ended the threat with a strikeout and a double play ground ball.
In the ninth inning, the Flames were able to get their leadoff hitter on, when pinch hitter Marcus Grimaldi drew a base on balls. However, Karmeris moved from third base to the mound and recorded the last three outs of the contest for an 8-5 North Florida victory.
Liberty starter Blake Forslund falls to 0-2 on the year. The right-hander allowed seven runs on five hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four batters and walked five.
North Florida starter Kyle Westwood picks up the win for his first victory of the year, running his record to 1-0. The right-hander gave up five runs on seven hits over the first seven innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
Doug Bream and Michael Robertson had two hits apiece for the Flames. Liberty had eight total hits in the contest. Hannon and Smith each had two hits of the Ospreys' seven hits in the game.
Liberty and North Florida meet again tomorrow in the finale of the series at Harmon Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.