UNF baseball wins opener at FSU, drops following two in weekend series

Riley Platt, Reporter

Baseball season got underway this weekend as the Ospreys traveled to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles. With three games over two days, how would UNF fare against the powerhouse of FSU?

Starting your season against the fifth-winningest program in NCAA baseball history isn’t exactly an easy task, but the Ospreys weren’t phased. The first game between the two took place on Saturday afternoon, with a doubleheader starting Sunday morning.

Playing a three game series against a top-25 team is never an easy task, but the Ospreys were able to avoid the sweep by winning the first game.
Playing a three-game series against a top-25 team is never an easy task, but the Ospreys were able to avoid the sweep by winning the first game. (Darvin Nelson)

In Saturday’s match, things were relatively quiet early on. Getting the opening day start for UNF was Tony Roca, the left-hander out of Ponte Vedra. However, UNF broke things open in the third inning when catcher Tanner Clark ripped a three-run home run. Now up 3-0, the Ospreys didn’t let up, bringing in three more runners on a wild pitch and RBI double to go up 6-0.

This big lead wouldn’t last long for UNF, as FSU’s Mattheu Nelson hit a three-run home run to tighten things up at 6-3 after three innings. The Seminoles continued to chip away at UNF’s lead, once again narrowing it to 6-4. 

UNF would increase their cushion with a run in the top of the seventh. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Ospreys held a three-run lead. FSU wouldn’t go away quietly, loading the bases with no outs. With the game on the line, UNF brought in former Seminole Brandon Reitz to get them out of this jam. Reitz was able to take care of business in an impressive stand, giving the Ospreys a 7-4 win to open the season.

With the second match starting Sunday morning, the Ospreys picked up right where they left off. Tanner Clark drove in two runs, putting UNF up 2-0 going into the bottom of the first inning. FSU had an answer, responding with three runs of their own to lead 3-2 at the end of the first.

From this point on, it was FSU’s game. A dominating 14-7 win by the Seminoles evened the series at one game apiece. With the third game taking place directly after this matchup, would the Ospreys be able to take a series win back to Jacksonville?

The Seminoles possessed momentum going into the third game, and this showed early on. Despite allowing a first-inning run, UNF starter Dylan Kelley settled in and posted three scoreless innings. However, FSU squared away at Kelley in the fifth inning, broadening their lead to 6-0.

Things looked grim in the sixth inning, but a double from catcher Alex Kachler led the charge as the Ospreys brought in three runners of their own. 

With one last chance to put something together, the Ospreys faced a four-run deficit. FSU held on to secure an 8-4 lead. While two losses to end the weekend wasn’t ideal, there are still plenty of positives to take away from UNF’s opening series.

The Ospreys will once again have a chance to take down a top-notch program when they host #1 Florida on Tuesday at Harmon Stadium. Admission is closed to the general public, but the first 75 students in line will be granted admission into the crucial match. Follow along with Spinnaker for the latest on UNF baseball.


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