For the sixth time in as many tries this season, the Georgia Southern Eagles trudged away from a Tuesday or Wednesday game with a loss.
Four unearned runs in the second inning epitomized the struggle as North Florida (10-8) claimed a season sweep over the Eagles (11-7) with a 13-3 victory Wednesday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Many of the Eagles’ midweek setbacks have been close contests, but the loss to North Florida – combined with a 22-6 loss at Georgia Tech Tuesday – is cause for some concern.
“There comes a point where you talk about pride and the way you play the game,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said. “The last couple of nights, we’re disappointed with how we played. It’s something that we have to put behind us and move on from.”
The Ospreys took the lead in the top of the second when James Abbatinozzi singled home Keith Skinner for a 1-0 lead.
Adam Kelly replaced Eagle starter Avery Fagan in the third inning and immediately ran into trouble. UNF loaded the bases with two outs and Fagan nearly escaped by getting Ryan Roberson to ground to shortstop, but Jordan Howard couldn’t get a grip on the ball and the Ospreys took a 2-0 lead.
Four pitches later, Abbatinozzi grounded to short and Howard again couldn’t get a handle on it, plating Trent Higginbothem. Nick Karmeris put an exclamation point on the inning, singling home another pair to make it four unearned runs in the inning and a 5-0 UNF lead.
That was more than enough for Osprey starter Brad Deppermann.
The UNF righty mixed a hard fastball and effective off-speed pitches to breeze through the first five innings of play without allowing an Eagle base runner.
“I didn’t think we played all that well, but that’s not to take credit from North Florida,” Hennon said. “Their pitcher threw a very good game and they hit the ball well. We just didn’t play up to our expectations.”
The Eagles’ only threat of the night began in the sixth when Cal Baker broke up Deppermann’s perfect game with a leadoff single to right. Logan Baldwin and Kody Adams also added singles and Baker came in to score on a wild pitch by Osprey reliever Jamie Cardwell.
The Eagles plated two more in the on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Mizell and a single by Andrew Kelley to account for all of the Georgia Southern runs on the night.
Deppermann picked up the win while allowing three hits, striking out seven and walking none.
That small outburst came just after North Florida had effectively put the game out of reach.
In the top of the sixth, Roberson laced a two-run double that was followed up by an RBI double from Karmeris to stretch the UNF lead to 9-0.
The Ospreys added runs in the seventh and eighth and scored twice in the ninth to continue to pull away.
Following the two lopsided midweek losses, the Eagles now prepare for a Sun Belt road trip. Georgia Southern visits Troy for a three-game series beginning Friday.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.