UWF baseball defeats Spring Hill with walk off in the 10th

By Grier Wellborn
Sports Editor

The Argonaut baseball team congratulates Brandon Tyler after his walk-off single breaks a time game against Spring Hill College.
Photo by Grier Wellborn.

The University of West Florida baseball team took on the Spring Hill College Badgers Wednesday night for the second time this season.

The Argos and the Badgers last met on Feb. 24 when the Argos walked away with a 3-2 win. UWF’s long history with the Badgers is one of success. With three wins of the past four matchups and an overall record 45 wins and 14 losses against Spring Hill, things looked promising for the Argos.

Freshman pitcher and Gulf Breeze native Gray Dorsey made his first collegiate start on Wednesday night when he took the hill first for the Argos. Dorsey made his collegiate debut last Wednesday against Stillman College.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Dorsey said. “But after the first inning, I settled down a little bit and knew I had a good defense behind me.”

The bottom of the first inning was filled with excitement for the Argos. First up for UWF was sophomore second baseman Nic Strasser, who hit a double. Next, senior shortstop Alex Greene took first base. A hit by Justin Ambrosino far to left field would send Strasser past home plate with Greene on third and eventually home. After Greene’s run, Ambrosino scored next for the final run of the inning. With the bases loaded, a UWF strikeout sent the game into the second inning.

The Badgers would remain scoreless in the second while the Argos would put two more points on the board with runs by Strasser and Greene. The Argos would enter the third inning with a score of 5-0.

Neither team scored in the next three innings with freshman pitcher Cole Crowder, replacing Dorsey on the mound in the top of the fourth.

Spring Hill overcame its scoreless start by putting one point on the board in the top of the fifth.

The third freshman pitcher of the day, Garrett Peek, a Gulf Breeze native, made his second collegiate debut when he replaced Crowder in the seventh. A few errors by the Argo basemen in the seventh would lead to another run by the Badgers. With only one hit in the bottom of the seventh, the Argos extended the scoreless inning streak to five.

Junior lefty pitcher Sean Kennedy posted up on the hill in the top of the eighth for the Argos. Kennedy struck out the first three batters. The Argos’ dry spell was extended to six innings by the end of the eighth. The Argos lead 5-2 heading into the ninth.

Junior Steve McClellan replaced Kennedy in the ninth to close the game at The Spoon. The Badger offense was on fire in the ninth, by completing three runs.

What seemed like a promising lead for the Argos heading into the ninth turned into a tie game leading into the bottom.

Unfortunately, the Argo offense could not turn up the heat in the ninth, and the seventh consecutive scoreless inning would extend the game into a 10th inning.

The Argos put in the big guns when Kyle Hamner took bat for UWF. Hamner has not struck out in his last 59 at bats, making him the toughest player in NCAA Division I, DII and DIII to strike out.

A low hit into left field from Hamner and the Argos would take both first and second base. Next at bat was senior Brandon Tyler with a walk-off single, sending junior outfielder Ladeavon Matthews home, thus winning the game for the Argos 6-5.

“We came out with a 5-0 lead and we all thought we had it in the bag,” Tyler said. “All of a sudden they crept back up in that last inning, and it felt good to finish it off in the 10th.”

While the offense came out hot in the first and second innings, the seven-inning dry spell made an seemingly easy win lead to a 10th inning.

“We just got a little complacent after the second inning, “ Strasser said. “They have a good team with good arms, but we had some good guys come off the bench in big situations to get the job done.”

The UWF baseball team played No. 9 Alabama Huntsville this weekend where the Argos split a double header on Saturday, losing the first game 4-2, and winning the second, 4-3. In the third game on Sunday, the Argos defeated UAH 13-6.

The Argos will return to Jim Spooner Field on at 6 p.m. March 15 and 3 p.m. March 16 to face Embry Riddle University.

For a complete schedule, visit goargos.com