JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 30, 2013) – With the game tied at two, North Florida broke things open with a six-run fourth, and the Ospreys went on to take the series from ETSU with an 11-4 victory on Saturday afternoon at Harmon Stadium.
North Florida (20-10, 4-2 A-Sun) entered the series as the top offensive team in the conference and the Ospreys added to that margin after hitting .438 (53-121) with 12 doubles, four triples, and three home runs in the series.
For the weekend, the Ospreys were led by the strong duo of Donnie Dewees and Ryan Roberson, while Drew Weeks ended up hitting for the cycle on Saturday. Dewees finished the series 9-for-13 with three doubles, three triples, six runs scored and nine RBI, and Roberson added eight hits in 13 at-bats with four doubles, one home run and eight RBI.
Senior outfielder Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) and junior two-way player Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) produced solid offensive numbers at the plate in the series. Green – who belted his third homer of the season in the fourth inning on Saturday – hit .462 (6-13) with a double, home run and five runs scored, while Freeman went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double and two runs scored.
Unfortunately, Freeman suffered his first loss of the year on Saturday, as the left-handed hurler moved his mark to 4-1 after allowing eight runs on 11 hits in three innings of work. Fellow left-hander Michael Renner improved to 4-0 after surrendering four runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 7.2 innings, while Corbin Olmstead retired the four ETSU hitters he faced out of the UNF bullpen.
The Bucs (14-10, 4-5) wasted a scoring opportunity in the top of the second when Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) generated his first collegiate triple, but Renner caught the sophomore shortstop napping at the corner as he was picked off for the second out of the inning.
North Florida capitalized on the momentum in the bottom half of the inning as Weeks began his run for the cycle with a two-out, two-run home run to right-center to put the Ospreys ahead, 2-0.
ETSU battled back for the time being and pulled even at two courtesy of a Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) two-out RBI double in the third, while Green led off the fourth with a home run down the line in right.
However, Renner kept the Blue and Gold off the board until the eighth inning, and the Ospreys gave the senior hurler some room to work with by plating sixth runs in the fourth to grab an 8-2 lead. The first six UNF hitters posted hits in the frame as six of the eight hits in the inning went for extra bases. Weeks recorded a triple in the inning, while it was Corey Bass’ two-run home run that ended Freeman’s day on the mound.
With the damage being done, Renner retired nine of the 11 hitters he faced during the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, while the Ospreys added to their lead with two runs in the seventh and pushed across one in the eighth.
The Bucs scored two in the top of the eighth with RBI singles from Riopedre and Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.), but ETSU was unable to muster any more offense of Renner or Olmstead.
The Bucs return home for a brief two-game series beginning Monday night when ETSU hosts Radford at 6:30 p.m. from Thomas Stadium.
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