DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The No. 2 University of Tampa baseball team suffered its third loss in four games as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University scored in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off with an 8-7 victory.
With the loss, UT is now 22-5 on the season at the Eagles are now 19-11. The matchup was a non-conference game as ERAU is a provisional member of the Sunshine State Conference.
The Eagles got off to a quick start, scoring three in the first and two in the second to grab a 5-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the game was delayed due to rain. The delay last just over three hours before the teams came back to resume play.
The Spartans would cut into the ERAU lead even more in the sixth, crossing a pair to trail 5-3. Danny Lee and J.D. Osborne each drew a walk, and Lee would score on a double by Rivera. Bell then drove home Osborne on an RBI groundout.
The Eagles would quickly get back the runs, scoring two in the top of the seventh to lead 7-3.
With their backs against the wall, the UT offense would do what it has for the entire season and tie the score at 7-7 with a four-run top of the ninth. The first four UT batters would reach via a single, as Cody deNoyelles and Casey Scoggins each drove home a run for Tampa.
The tie game would be short lived as Embry-Riddle capitalized on the twilight sky as a Spartan defender lost track of a ball that dropped, scoring the game-winning run.
A total of four UT hitters had a pair of hits, including Osborne, Rivera, Bell and deNoyelles. Bell also drove in two runs as he started in left field.
Christopher Williams (4-2) was the pitcher of record as he threw the bottom of the ninth. Brad Hencke started for Tampa and logged 4.0 innings of action. The most effective pitcher for UT was senior left Jimmy Hodgskin, who pitched 3.0 perfect innings where he struck out one Eagle.
The two teams will play the rubber game of the series on Saturday at 11 a.m. Live stats and video will be linked through TampaSpartans.com.
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