Baseball loses two tight games to conference opponent

Josh Brannock

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

By: Josh Brannock, Sports Editor

This season has been filled with blowout wins and tight losses for UNF baseball, and the team’s 17-9 record has reflected its play thus far.

Coach Smoke Laval came into this season with the belief that the team needed to mature before making a run at the Atlantic Sun conference championship. Even though the season is nearly halfway over, Laval still preaches the same thing.

“We try and teach a pitch-by-pitch, inning-by-inning mentality, and it’s very difficult,” Laval said. “I don’t care about the records or how it was last year. I like where we are this year.”

In the majority of the team’s losses this season, the team has failed to play a complete nine-inning game. In the team’s three-game series versus the University of South Carolina Upstate March 23-25, the team lost two games.

In the first loss, the team fell 3-1 after giving up two runs in the fifth inning. At the start of the inning, the score was tied 1-1.

The second loss of the series for the Ospreys illustrated the inability to finish a game that has hurt the team this year. After rallying back from an early 5-3 deficit, UNF went into the top of the eighth inning up 6-5. The Ospreys gave up nine runs to the Spartans in the last two innings of the game. Only two of the nine runs were earned runs, and the team lost 14-8.

The team managed to snag a win in the series, winning game three 4-1.

UNF was able to earn another victory March 27 against Florida A&M. The team beat the Rattlers 7-1 in one of its most complete games of the season.

Even though the Ospreys have a winning record, they have struggled thus far in conference play. The team is 2-4 in A-Sun play this year, losing the four games with a combined score of 26-13. In its two wins, UNF outscored its opponents 14-5.

Although the team has a losing record in the A-Sun and has lost its first two series in conference play, Laval is satisfied with his team at this point in the season.

“We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there, and it’s fun watching them,” Laval said. “As long as we get better on a pitch-by-pitch basis, then we can start worrying about all of the other stuff. We need to play 24 good innings [out of 27] instead of 21 good innings.”

The team plays Bethune-Cookman in Daytona March 28 and will continue conference play when it faces Kennesaw State University, picked to finish third in the A-Sun preseason poll in a three-game series in Kennesaw, Ga., March 30-April 1.

Email Josh Brannock at [email protected]
Follow @spinnakersports