JACKSONVILLE, FLA. -Starting its season in Jacksonville, Florida, the University of Pennsylvania baseball team fell to North Florida 17-5 on opening night. Penn fell behind by nine runs in the first two innings and could not quiet the Ospreys bats on Friday night, leading to a rough result.
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS:Things did not get off to a good start on opening day for the Quakers. After UNF's Bryan Baker struck out the side in the first, the Ospreys struck for seven runs in the first inning, capped off by a grand slam from Christian Diaz.
Patrick Ervin got things started with a one-out single to center that was mishandled and allowed Ervin to hustle into second. Keith Skinner followed with a base hit of his own to score Skinner for the first run of the evening. With two outs, Nick Karmeris reached on another error, putting runners at the corners. A hit by a pitch and a walk to Dakota Higdon later, it was 2-0 Ospreys. Chris Thibideau knocked in a run immediately after to make it 3-0, before Christian Diaz sent a pitch over the left field fence for a Grand Slam. When it was all said and done, the Ospreys sent 10 men to the plate and recorded four hits.
FIRST RUN OF 2016:After Tim Graul recorded the Quakers first hit of the season, a double to left, Gary Tesch brought him in with a line drive to right to make it 7-1. However, the Quakers would strand the bases loaded in the inning.
ABOMINABLE OSPREYS:North Florida continued to pile it on in the second striking for three more runs. Corbin Olmstead recorded his first RBI of the day and Karmeris and Higdon both knocked in their second, leading to a 10-1 lead for the Ospreys.
Two more scored for the home team in the fifth with help from a pair of Quaker errors. Ervin drove in his fourth run of 2016 on a weakly hit ground ball back to the pitcher and Skinner drove in his second of the night with a sacrifice fly to center to extend the lead to 12-1.
BIT BY BIT:The Quakers were able to get another run across in the six on a Matt Greskoff RBI single to right. Matt McGeagh scored on the play after leading off the inning with a walk.
TOUGH NIGHT CONTINUES:Adding to an already sizeable lead, the Ospreys scored twice in the seventh to open up a 17-2 lead. Olmstead hit his first home run of the season to lead off the inning and Thibideau roped a single to left to bring in a run.
QUAKERS LAST STAND:Still trailing by 15 runs, the Quakers scored three times in the ninth to finish the night. Jonah Campbell roped a pinch-hit double to the left field gap to drive in a pair and Matt O'Neill recorded his first RBI as a Quaker with a line drive-single to left as well.
QUAKER NOTEMEAL:Penn started four freshman on Friday...Sean Phelan (1B)... Matt O'Neill (C), Matt Tola (2B), and Matt McGeagh (3B) all started... Grant Guillory also made his college debut as a defensive replacement in the eighth... Two Quakers recorded multi-hit games... Matt O'Neill went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Matt Greskoff went 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI... Adam Bleday also made his Quaker debut... Bleday pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing one hit...Penn struck out 16 times, including 11 of the first 12 outs... All seven first inning runs for UNF were unearned... Penn made four errors, including two in the first frame.
UP NEXT:Game two of the three-game set with UNF is on Saturday at 1 p.m.