JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Though Jacksonville University (32-22, 15-5 ASUN) tied up the game in the top of the seventh inning, the University of North Florida (33-21, 12-8 ASUN) held on to win 6-4 over JU Friday in the second game of the River City Rumble. The series is tied with just one game remaining before the ASUN Conference tournament begins.
"This is what we expected," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "We're going to fight to end of the season. We expected some adversity, and UNF's starter was really good today. We had a chance to tie it up but we couldn't hold it in the end. This was a great effort between two very good baseball teams."
North Florida struck early, putting two across in the first. The Ospreys led off with a four-pitch walk off JU starter Michael Baumann. The runner advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on a double with no outs. A grounder put the Osprey that doubled on third, and a single by the next UNF batter scored the second run. After one UNF led 2-0.
Neither team scored over the next three and a half innings, but UNF put another two across in the bottom of the fifth. The Ospreys led off with a single, and he was joined on base when the next batter was beaned by Baumann. An RBI single scored the first run of the inning and put runners on first and second, and the third single of the inning plated the fourth Osprey run of the day. Baumann forced a double play to end the inning, but North Florida led 4-0 after five innings.
Nathan Koslowski drew a five-pitch walk to lead off the sixth, then Scott Dubrule singled Koslowski to second. Sam Armstrong took just one ball from UNF's starter Frank German before knocking the laces off the ball in a homer that dented the UNF batting facility's roof. A pop-fly and a swinging strikeout ended the inning, but JU had pulled within one, 4-3, heading into the bottom of the sixth. Baumann drew a clean inning to keep the score at North Florida 4, Jacksonville 3 after six innings.
Chris Lehane extended his on-base streak to eight games with a five-pitch walk to lead off the seventh, and Ruben Someillan put Lehane on second with a sac bunt to third base that he almost beat to first. Koslowski was intentionally walked, putting Lehane in scoring position, and Dubrule singled to left field on a 1-2 count, scoring Lehane. It was Dubrule's seventh hit against UNF in three career games. Heading into the bottom of the seventh the game was tied 4-4.
"Scotty is as fierce a competitor as we've got," said Hayes. "That's why he's here. That's why a freshman can play as much as he has in pressure positions at the top of the lineup. He is as dependable a bat as we've got day in and day out."
North Florida responded quickly with a lead-off single up the middle and a homer to left field, taking a 6-4 lead. Andrew Ciocia came in and shut the Ospreys down for two innings, but the Dolphins couldn't put any more runs across. UNF took the second game 6-4, forcing a rubber match Saturday with Casey Kulina (4-1, 2.67 ERA) toeing the rubber against Cooper Bradford (1-2, 2.49 ERA).