Tyler Griffin's third home run of the game staked The Citadel to an 8-4 lead in the top of the seventh before North Florida rallied for four runs in its half of the inning and another in the eighth to pull out a 9-8 victory Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville.
Both teams are 4-2 on the season and will play the rubber game of a three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Griffin became the first Bulldog to hit three homers in a game since Richard Jones against Davidson on April 12, 2009 and the first with a multi-homer performance since Justin Mackert had two against Furman on April 7, 2011.
Griffin had a career-high five RBI and has seven hits in the first two games against the Ospreys. He had a final chance for a school record fourth home run following aBo Thompson double with two outs in the eighth and The Citadel down by a run but struck out against winning pitcher Spencer Hermann.
Griffin increased his home run total on the season to four while Thompson slammed his second of the year. Thompson and Griffin went back-to-back as part of a three-run fifth that gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead, and Joe Jackson added an RBI ground out in the inning to give him a team-leading 11 on the season.
Down by four runs heading into the bottom of the seventh, North Florida erupted for four runs against relief pitcher Austin Livingston, capped by a two-run homer by Paul Karmeris. With Ross White (0-1) on the mound in the eighth, Hughston Armstrong dove for a line drive to left by Hermann and the ball scooted past him for a triple.
Zach Sherrill relieved White and just missed getting his glove on a hard grounder up the middle by Corbin Olmstead that drove in Hermann with the winning run.
The offensive slugfest saw the Ospreys pound out 17 hits, one more than the Bulldogs, and the teams combine for seven home runs. Thompson, Griffin andDrew DeKerlegand each had three hits for The Citadel.
James Reeves struggled through the first five innings on the mound, allowing nine hits and four runs. He walked one and struck out five and left with a 5-4 lead. Hermann worked the final three innings in relief of starter Kyle Westwood and allowed four hits and one run while striking out three to raise his record to 2-0.
Ryan Roberson hit a two-run homer off Reeves in the first, the first round tripper allowed by The Citadel pitching staff this season. A fielder's choice grounder byBrett Bullard in the third and a solo homer by Griffin in the third tied the game at 2 before Kyle Brooks drove a two-run shot over the fence in left in the fourth to give the Ospreys the lead back at 4-2.