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Pitching, timely hitting leads UNF to bounce-back series win over EKU

The UNF baseball team defeated Eastern Kentucky over the weekend, winning two of three series games at Harmon Stadium.

Despite the early lead, the Ospreys didn’t score after the second inning and lost game one 8-5. North Florida used a four-run sixth inning to even the series in game two, winning 7-2. Timely hitting and masterful pitching led UNF to win the series finale, 3-2. 

Game One

The Ospreys scored early and often in game one. UNF scored three runs in the first inning on three hits, two of which were thanks to a Jakob Runnels home run. Santiago Peralta answered by hitting a two-run single for the Colonels, and the Ospreys now led 3-2. 

Gabriel Esquivel hit a two-run home run to lengthen UNF’s lead to 5-2. An EKU two-run homer decreased North Florida’s lead to 5-4. The Ospreys’ offense went silent for what looked to be a high-scoring affair. 

The Ospreys only managed two hits for the rest of the game. Eastern Kentucky broke the 5-5 tie in the seventh inning by scoring three runs on three singles. UNF only had one hit the rest of the game and failed to score a run after the second inning. 

North Florida lost game one 8-5, and Colonel pitcher Joe Clancy achieved a rare three-inning save.

Game Two

Like game one, the Ospreys scored first after Finn Howell and Drew Leinenbach notched RBI singles in the second inning. A Bryce Fisher balk and sacrifice fly tied the game for Eastern Kentucky in the fourth inning. 

Fisher had an immaculate day on the mound. The senior tossed six innings of work, only giving up three hits and one earned run. Howell grounded out to second base to break the 2-2 tie in the sixth inning, right after Runnels and Matthew Clements singled. 

Baseball (Tristan Larrabee)

Clements bolted to home plate, scoring on a passed ball to extend the Ospreys’ lead to 4-2. Esquivel scored on an error, and a Cherokee Nichols single capped off a four-run inning, and North Florida led 6-2 after six innings. 

Runnels launched another homer over the fence, and the Ospreys led 7-2 after seven innings, which was the final score, as Brett Dennis and Brody Maynard didn’t allow a run in relief, snapping UNF’s five-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory. 

Game Three

North Florida scored first for the third and final time as Runnels hit an RBI flyout. Despite having three hits and a walk, the Ospreys only scored one run in the first inning. Eastern Kentucky took the lead from UNF in the fourth inning, hitting a double and scoring two runs off pitcher Tony Roca. 

A Tripp McKinley RBI groundout tied the game for the Ospreys in the fifth. McKinley, followed by homering in the seventh, cemented the UNF lead for good. The Osprey bullpen was again fantastic, as they didn’t allow a run for the second straight day. 

Lance Bolton got the final five outs to secure North Florida’s series win. This win moved the Ospreys to sixth place in the ASUN, with a 6-6 record in conference play. 

North Florida will stay home to host Wofford for a Wednesday midweek tilt at 6 p.m.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ethan Howick, Sports Reporter
Ethan Howick is a first-year communications major at the University of North Florida. Ethan has a passion for sports journalism with hopes of becoming a journalist and/or broadcaster for a sports media company someday. During his free time, Ethan enjoys spending time with his family and attending many sporting events with friends.

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