The late loss spoiled an outstanding pitcher performance by Stetson senior Lindsey Caughel, who needed just 76 pitches to work seven shutout innings. He was lifted after allowing a one-out walk in the eighth, but the normally reliable Hatters bull pen was unable to nail down the victory.
The loss snapped Stetson’s five game win streak and dropped the Hatters to 28-14 overall, 10-7 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. UNF improved to 25-17 overall and 7-10 in league play, snapping a five game losing streak to Stetson.
“Those are the toughest losses,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “I thought our guys played really well, played great defense in some pressure situations. Not having Robbie (Powell) today hurt. Jake (Boyd) has done the job for us before and we expected him to do the job today.”
Boyd (4-1), who earned the win in Friday night’s games, came on to pitch the ninth in a save situation. The Ospreys wasted no time measuring him. Tyler Marincov lined the first pitch from Boyd into the gap in left for a double. Pinch-hitter Spencer Herrmann followed with a single on Boyd’s second pitch to cut the Stetson lead to 3-2.
Andrew Karmeris followed two pitches later with a game-tying double. Alex Bacon followed with an infield single, moving Karmeris, with the winning run, to third.
The Hatters turned to Tucker Donahue to try to stem the tide but, after getting two strikes on Drew Weeks, the UNF freshman delivered a game-winning single through the right side of a drawn in infield to give the Ospreys the win.
“Caughel threw extremely well, especially in this heat,” Dunn said of his starter. “He just couldn’t go the whole way, which we didn’t expect he would be able to do, but we went to the pen and they got us out of trouble in the eighth. Then, we went straight to Boyd. There was no doubt that was what we were going to do when Robbie pitched so much last night. It just didn’t work out.”
The ninth inning heroics for UNF made a winner of relief pitcher Chandler Jagodzinski (1-0), who worked a perfect top of the ninth after starter Kyle Westwood went eight innings.
The Hatters were able to touch the UNF junior for three runs in the third inning with Spencer Theisen, Robert Crews and Ben Carhart each plating a run. The problem was that Stetson left two runners on base in that inning and, in the sixth, left the bases loaded in what were the only two scoring opportunities in the game for the Hatters.
“Westwood really settled down for them,” Dunn said. “I thought we did a great job creating opportunities early in the game and we were able to get three runs off of him. He is a heck of a pitcher and settled down. We had some opportunities to build on the lead, but he did a heck of a job to get out of trouble.”
Westwood scattered seven hits and walked two with five strikeouts. After getting out of trouble in the sixth inning, the UNF pitchers combined to retire the final nine Stetson hitters in order.
“It was one of those games where you just have to tip your hat because they did a great job of coming back after they weren’t able to do much against Caughel,” Dunn said. “It is disappointing, but we have to come back and be ready to come out and get the rubber game tomorrow.”
Crews led Stetson with three hits in the game while Carhart added two. Senior Mark Jones saw his 15-game hit streak come to an end. Weeks had three hits, including the game-winner, for UNF while the Ospreys also got two hits each from Corey Bass and Joe Wielbruda.
Stetson will once again turn to senior right-hander Will Dorsey (5-3, 3.20) for Sunday’s game with the series on the line. UNF will counter with sophomore right-hander Tyler Moore (5-1, 1.91). The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.