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UNF Spinnaker

Ospreys fall to Stetson: Last home game for Rhodes and seniors.

The UNF Ospreys baseball team played host to the Stetson Hatters Sunday, May 15  losing the last home game of the season 10-3, in front of 422 fans at Dusty Rhodes Field at Harmon Stadium. The loss came just a day after clinching a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.

“We didn’t pitch well,” said head coach Dusty Rhodes. “Their guy came out and just did a great job. He looked like he wasn’t going to make it after the first inning but he just kept getting bigger, better and stronger. [John] Atteo struggled a little bit, and our relief guys just gave it up in the last part of the game.”

The Ospreys, who were coming off of two wins against Stetson on Saturday, never really got it going offensively while scoring just three runs on nine hits for the game.

“I feel like we didn’t come out as strong as we did yesterday,” said designated hitter Justin Preckajlo, who hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning. “We just kind of laid back, and it bit us in the butt pretty bad.”

Preckajlo was one of 11 seniors playing in their last home game who were honored during the Senior Day festivities which took place before the game. In addition to Preckajlo, the Ospreys honored Preston Hale, T.J. Thompson, Atteo, Jon Turner, Kevin Martin, Michael Kelly, Greg Koehler, David Eldredge, Kris Linster and Casey Medlen.

“Well it’s a little sad,” Preckajlo said. “In all reality, it’s just like any other game. You can’t shoot it any different. You just have to go out there and play hard every time.”

While it might have been Senior Day, Harmon Stadium also said goodbye to Dusty Rhodes, who coached his last home game as coach of the Ospreys. Rhodes, who is retiring at the end of the season, was also honored before the game by being presented with a rocking chair and a pair of plaques to commemorate his 1,200th career victory and his 900th win as coach of the Ospreys.

“Well, I really didn’t think about it to tell you the truth,” Rhodes said. “I just try to win. It’s tough because you know I helped build this field, and I remember laying down the grass and putting down the infield sod. I’ll probably think about it in about a week but I didn’t think about it to much today.”

The Ospreys take the field May 18 against the University of Florida in Gainesville, followed by a three-game series starting May 20, against Florida Gulf Coast to rap up the regular season.

With the win, the Hatters avoid the series sweep by the Ospreys and improve their record to 26-27 and 13-11 in the Atlantic Sun. The loss drops the Ospreys to 29-22 while dropping to 14-9 in the Atlantic Sun.

“Winning two out of three was big for us,” Rhodes said. “It would have been great to win all three of them.”

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