The Citadel took advantage of three hit batters and a crucial error to score three times in the 11th in a 6-3 victory over North Florida in the opener of a three-game series in Jacksonville.
The win improved the Bulldogs to 4-1 on the season while the Ospreys dropped to 3-2. The teams are scheduled to play on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. but that may change as a result of impending inclement weather in the Jacksonville area.
After North Florida wiped out a 3-0 deficit with a run in the eighth and two in the ninth, Hughston Armstrong was hit by a Jamie Cardwell pitch to lead off the top of the 11th. After fouling off two bunt attempts, Mason Davis bounced a single over the head of third baseman Paul Karmeris to put two on with nobody out.
Davis was forced at second on a bunt by Drew DeKerlegand. Joe Jackson then hit a grounder back to Cardwell, whose low throw eluded Drew Weeks at second and allowed Armstrong to score the tiebreaking run.
Jackson was credited with an RBI on the play to give him 10 through the first five games of the season. However, the junior catcher finished 0-for-6 to see his 12-game hitting streak dating back to the end of the 2012 campaign come to an end.
Evan Incinelli relieved Cardwell and hit Bo Thompson and Tyler Griffin to force in a run and make it 5-3. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Bailey Rush walked on four pitches to give the Bulldogs a three-run cushion.
David Rivera allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the 11th but retired the next three batters to wrap up his second win of the year.
Austin Pritcher cruised through seven shutout innings, allowing six hits while striking out four, and his teammates backed him with three runs. The senior right hander has not allowed a run in his first 13 innings of the 2013 season.
Tommy Organ, who started and picked up a win when the Ospreys defeated the Bulldogs last season at Riley Park, struck out seven and allowed six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He went the same distance a year ago and fanned nine Citadel batters.
The Bulldogs led the whole way, scoring two in the first on an RBI single by Tyler Griffin – his first of four hits on the night – and a run producing double by Brett Bullard. The Citadel tacked on a run in the sixth on a Calvin Orth sacrifice fly to back Pritcher.
Zach Sherrill and Logan Cribb combined to work the eighth, with North Florida breaking up the shutout on what appeared to be a double play grounder to Davis. But a bad hop resulted in just a force out at second as Joe Wielbruda scored from third.
The Osprey rally continued in the ninth and they appeared poised to steal a come-from-behind win. With runners at first and second, Rush fielded a bunt by Corey Bass and threw wildly to first, allowing both runners to score to tie the game at 3.
Closer Skylar Hunter then got two ground outs and walked the No. 3 and 4 hitters intentionally to load the bases. The freshman calmly struck out Garrick Ferguson on a 3-2 count to send the game into extra innings.
Freshman Jason Smith got his first start in center field for the Bulldogs and recorded his first collegiate hit when he singled to start the two-run first.