Argos hold off late Spring Hill rally for seventh straight win

By Tyler Wood
Contributing Writer 

The West Florida men’s baseball team has improved to 17-10 on the strength of seven consecutive wins, the latest being a 7-5 non-conference victory over Spring Hill College on Wednesday evening.

The Argos held off a late rally from the Badgers to win a game that saw UWF lead Spring Hill by as many as six runs after five innings of play. Single runs in the sixth and eighth innings allowed the Badgers to climb back within striking distance of the Argos. Heading into the ninth inning, the score was 7-3 in favor of UWF, but a ninth inning rally sparked life in the Spring Hill dugout.

UWF’s 2017 Men’s Baseball Team. Photo courtesy of UWF website.

With one run already in the inning and two outs in the top of the ninth, the Badgers had runners on first and third when a balk from Argos’ pitcher Matt Whetstone allowed the runner on third base to score, making it a two-run ballgame. UWF head coach Mike Jeffcoat then opted to bring in JT Granat to get the final out of the game.

With Michael Druhan batting for Spring Hill, Granat sealed the game for the Argos with a clutch strikeout to end the ballgame and grow UWF’s winning streak to seven games.

“The team has really kind of taken on an identity of its own,” Jeffcoat said after the game. “We talked about each team trying to find their own identity and what they need to do to motivate one another and put a stamp on their season.”

The Argos were given a fine start on the mound by Jackson Smith, who gave up a leadoff home run on the second pitch of the game, but shook it off to strike out six batters while allowing only two more hits in his five innings of work. Smith located his pitches well throughout the evening, giving up no walks, making his night that much easier.

The Argos received one inning of relief work apiece from Steve McClellan, Walker O’Connor, and J.A. Harville in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, respectively. McClellan and Harville each gave up a run, but O’Connor was able to keep the Badgers off the scoreboard in the seventh, striking out the side.

Smith was credited with his team-leading fifth win of the season while Granat got his second save of the year.

The Argos were led offensively by first baseman Justin Ambrosino and Colby Brown, who each went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Ambrosino launched his seventh home run of the season over the left-center field fence in the third inning. He leads the Argos in home runs and is currently leading the entire Gulf South Conference in RBIs with 35.

The Argos will now direct their focus back to the GSC, with 17 of their final 22 games coming against Gulf South opponents.

“We had a great road trip last week going 5-0,” Jeffcoat said. “Now we’ve got to try and sustain that here at home.”

The Argos will have a chance to do that this weekend as they host Christian Brothers University in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday followed by the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

For the complete schedule and more information on baseball, visit goargos.com.