UNF softball hosts home tournament after three weeks on the road

Spinnaker

By: Zach Morgan, Contributing Writer

 

UNF softball returns home this week to open its home schedule with the first of two Osprey Invitationals.

The tournament begins March 2, but UNF will play its first game March 3 against McNeese State at 4:15 p.m. The remainder of the tournament will pit the Ospreys against St. Bonaventure, Mount St. Mary’s and Delaware State.

“You don’t want to lose at home,” Kaylie Wallace said. “You don’t want to lose anywhere, obviously, but at home it’s like we’re protecting our field.”

UNF softball wrapped up its second tournament of the season Feb. 25-27 and came out with a 3-2 record. The Ospreys defeated Albany twice before beating Georgia Southern in their final game of the tournament. UNF lost to Kentucky and Jacksonville State, but at 8-4 overall, the Ospreys are in a good position with the season home opener this weekend.

In its first game of the Eagle Classic, UNF defeated Albany 3-2 in a pitcher’s duel. After going scoreless through five-and-a-half innings, Marissa Thomas drilled a lead-off home run to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Lauren Pollack’s two-out double to right field scored two more runs for the Ospreys. Wallace pitched all seven innings to record the victory. Wallace struck out seven batters and gave up two runs off of four hits to move to 4-0 on the year for North Florida.

The Wildcats proved to be a much tougher opponent, as they beat the Ospreys 8-3 in a game that will serve as a learning tool for coach Marcie Hickey and her team.

“Our pitching was a little bit shaky, and that just caused us some frustration,” Hickey said. “We didn’t do a very good job of handling the frustration in that second inning. You can’t give a team like that an inning and hope to come back and beat ‘em.”

Kentucky quickly jumped on the Ospreys, scoring six runs in the first two innings. A fourth inning error by Kentucky in the outfield allowed UNF’s Jackie Reese to score and put the Ospreys on the board. A two-out double to left center by Chie Someya allowed the Ospreys to cut into Kentucky’s lead, but it wasn’t enough.

UNF would run-rule Albany in the teams’ second meeting as the bats came alive, and the Ospreys outscored Albany 13-5 in just five innings. Pollack began the seven-run fifth inning with a lead-off home run blast to center field. Mariah Reynolds’ two-out, bases-loaded double to right center scored three runs, and the route was on.

Another pitcher’s duel occurred in the Ospreys’ fourth game of the tournament, but this time they lost to Jacksonville State, 3-2. However, UNF would bounce back with another victory, this time against Georgia Southern in their final game of the Eagle Classic. A bases-loaded throwing error allowed UNF to score its first two runs of the game before Georgia Southern cut into that lead in the third inning. UNF would add two more runs before the end of the game and held Georgia Southern scoreless the rest of the way. UNF came away with the 4-1 win over the host school.

“We should have won the two games that we lost,” Wallace said. “We had a couple of errors on defense and some overthrows. We need to just clean it up a little, but overall, it was a good weekend.”

Following the Ospreys victory over Georgia Southern, the All-Tournament team was announced with two Ospreys acknowledged. Pollack and Wallace were recognized for their performance throughout the entire tournament.

 

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