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UNF Softball score high in weekend tournament

Drew McDonald

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photo courtesy of UNF Athletics

With consistent hitting and lights out pitching, the Ospreys put on quite a performance in the Clearwater Spring Break Classic.

In game one of the tournament, North Florida defeated LIU-Brooklyn with dominant pitching and situational hitting. In the second inning, UNF’s Taylor Scott lined a single to centerfield in order to plate two runs. The Blackbirds rallied in the fourth inning as they loaded the bases with no outs. Limiting the damage, Sydney Matzko pitched herself out of a jam by only allowing one run. Matzko finished her 13th complete game with eight hits, one walk and four strikeouts.

Alex Arciola doubled to left field in the sixth inning, driving in Dominica Cocuzza. Arciola advanced to third on the play as the outfield committed a throwing error trying to get the out at home. Ashley Niesman laid down a solid bunt to allow Arciola to score, cementing a 4-1 Ospreys victory.

Later that day, Arciola’s four hit game led North Florida to defeat Buffalo, 5-1.  The Ospreys hit the ground running in the first inning as Niesman drove in two on an RBI single to right field. Buffalo countered with a one out RBI double before Morgan Blourne struck out the next two batters to escape the tying run threat.

In the third inning, Cocuzza smacked a double and switched places with Arciola. To capitalize with a runner in scoring position, Casey Estes drove Arciola in with an RBI single down the line. Arciola later connected on her fourth hit to drive in  Scott who reached on a fielders’ choice. This win improves Blourne’s record to 3-5 with 34 strikeouts so far this season.

The Ospreys didn’t need a four leaf clover or rabbits foot as they won both their games on Saturday. In the first game,  Matzko was lights out in striking out a career-best ten batters in the win against Butler, 1-0. There was minimal offense for both teams throughout the game as Butler’s Alyssa Graves also kept UNF’s offense down as she only surrendered three hits.

In the eighth inning, with the international tiebreaker rules in effect, Niesman went to second. After a wild pitch, Niesman advanced to third as Butler then intentionally walked the next two hitters for a better chance to nab Niesman at home. Scott had the clutch gene as she lined a single to centerfield for a 1-0 Ospreys walkoff win.

In game two, North Florida steamrolled past Quinnipiac for a 9-1 win. Navia Penrod started the hit parade in the first inning as she led off with a single, she later advanced on a wild pitch to second and on a sac bunt to third. Cocuzza hammered a double down the line allowing Penrod to score. Arciola followed with a double to center which scored Cocuzza, making it 2-0. In the second inning, Tiffany Lower belted a solo home run for the 3-0 lead. The Ospreys added six more insurance runs in the fourth to build the lead to nine. The Bobcats tried to claw their way back in the fifth with scoring a runner on a single to center, but Blourne halted their hopes by getting the final batter out.

It was easy like Sunday morning as North Florida shut out Buffalo, 9-0. The Ospreys were firing on all cylinders as Kayla McGory laced a triple to score Scott in the first inning. The hitting spree continued in the second as Mary Rodriguez connected on an RBI two bagger and later scored on a single by Penrod. In the fourth inning, the Ospreys plated two more runs on five hits to extend the lead to five. Penrod and Lower bashed a home run each to solidify an Osprey win, 9-0.

In the final game of the tournament in Clearwater, North Florida fell to the USF Bulls, 8-0. The Bulls scored early on an RBI single in the first. They later on piled the lead to three in the second inning as Blourne came into pitch for Matzko. In the third, USF tacked on two more runs to make it 7-0.  The Bulls continued their explosive offense as they won, 8-0 in five innings.

North Florida is back in action on March 21 against Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. at the UNF Softball Complex.

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UNF Softball score high in weekend tournament