2020 UNF baseball season preview

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

Featured image by: Brett Nweeia

Video by: Brett Nweeia and Drew McDonald

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The UNF baseball team has made impressive runs in the ASUN Tournament but unfortunately fell short in the past two seasons. Manager Tim Parenton looks to flip the script this season. 

“Hopefully our guys come together and play well,” Coach Parenton said. “We always have five or six new guys on our team and we hope the older guys can teach the new guys what conference play is all about.”

The Ospreys are coming off a 32-25 (12-11 ASUN) record last season, suffering a 3-2 loss in 12 innings to Liberty to end their season.

According to Parenton, the infield is filled with newcomers like Ricky Presno at third base, Zach West at second, and Trey Spratling-Williams at first base. 

Presno joins UNF after playing two years at the College of Central Florida where he finished his sophomore year with a .357 batting average and drove in 40 RBI’s. 

West also comes to UNF from the College of Central Florida, hitting .290 with 79 total hits in his time with the Patriots. 

Spratling-Williams looks to bring the lumber and flash the leather for the Ospreys. The junior recorded a .340 batting average with the Florida State College at Jacksonville and had a .415 on-base percentage. 

“I’m trying to be the most consistent hitter and defensive player that I can be,” Spratling-Williams said. “These guys are really talented and I haven’t been on a team this talented ever.”

UNF’s biggest strength on the team will be on the mound which is contrary to last year’s squad that was hitter heavy with six hitters recording a .285 batting average or above. 

“I think we got a lot more depth on the mound,” Coach Parenton said. “I don’t know if we have any gunslingers like we had in the past but I think we got some guys who can step up on the mound and pitch.”

UNF’s roster consists of 17 pitchers led by seniors Brandon Reitz, Eddie Miller and Hunter Bowling. 

Reitz went 4-5 last year with a 4.58 ERA in 15 starts. 

Miller returns for his final season at UNF and is coming off a stellar year with a 1.31 ERA. Despite the strong performance, Miller sees this season as a clean slate. 

“I’ll just look to do my job and get outs,” Miller said. “I’m not really worried about an ERA or numbers.”

Bowling had 16 appearances out of the bullpen last season, holding opponents to a .200 batting average. 

Although the Ospreys have depth in pitching, their hitting may be more small ball like the 1980’s St. Louis Cardinals. 

“Offensively, I don’t know if we’ll hit a lot of home runs but that’s to see with the new bats and bat testing,” Coach Parenton said. 

The Ospreys face some tough opponents in non-conference games with the likes of South Carolina, Ohio State, UCF and Florida.

Opening Day for UNF will be a home game Friday, Feb. 14 against VMI at 7:00 p.m.  

With a new crop of talent and depth in pitching, the Ospreys look to punch their ticket to Omaha, Nebraska this year for the College World Series. 

“I don’t know about anyone else but I’m tired of not getting a ring so I look forward to winning one this year,” Miller said. 

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