UNF falls to Georgia Southern in low-scoring affair

Riley Platt, Reporter

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

Coming off of their first series win of the season, the Ospreys had a chance to pick up their first home win of 2021 against Georgia Southern on Wednesday. But would UNF be able to keep this momentum rolling against the GSU Eagles?

It was yet another chilly night at Harmon Stadium, with the temperature hanging around the mid-50s throughout the evening with a consistent breeze. Starting on the mound for the Ospreys was the senior lefty Rafael Santos, while senior right-hander Jordan Jackson got the start for Georgia Southern.

 UNF used five pitchers in the game, only giving up three runs on seven hits (Justin Nedrow)

While the weather was cold, GSU’s offense was anything but early on. The Eagles wasted no time, as a sacrifice fly brought home third baseman Jaylen Paden to give GSU a 1-0 lead after their first trip to the plate. UNF wasn’t as fortunate offensively, going three up-three down in the bottom of the first. 

The Eagles were able to get a couple of runners on base in the top of the second, but nothing ultimately came about from this. The Ospreys appeared to be putting something together in the bottom of the second, as a single by designated hitter Trey Spratling-Williams gave UNF two runners on with no outs. This opportunity quickly evaporated due to a double play that was followed up by a ground-out.

GSU started off the third inning with yet another lead-off single from Jaylen Paden. A 4-6-3 double play by the Ospreys ridded themselves of this runner, but the Eagles would quickly put two runners back on base. This led to a pitching change for UNF as Darin Kilfoyl entered the game. The senior out of Land O’Lakes was able to produce a groundout, getting the Ospreys out of the jam.

The UNF bats began to cool down again in the bottom of the third, as the Ospreys went down in three at-bats. However, GSU would heat up once again in the top of the fourth. A stolen base by first baseman Jason Swan put him into position to score off an RBI groundout by second baseman Steven Curry. 

Now down 2-0, the Ospreys looked to respond in the bottom of the fourth. While first baseman Alex Kachler was able to advance to third base on a wild pitch, a pop fly to center would end the inning.

The fifth inning would see UNF’s second pitching change, with junior left-hander Ryan Jean taking the mound. Jean gave up a single but was able to get out of the inning unscathed. GSU also went to their bullpen, bringing in Jacob Parker. While second baseman Aidan Sweatt was able to get on base, the Ospreys couldn’t do anything with this as their night remained scoreless offensively through five.

The sixth inning brought about another pitching change for UNF, as right-hander Ethan Jones took over. Jones had a successful inning, but the Ospreys still couldn’t get a run on the board. However, things finally started to click for UNF in the bottom of the seventh. With two runners on and no outs, GSU went to their pen, bringing in Jay Thompson. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, allowing a run to score off of an Austin Bogart liner that was fumbled. While only one run came across the plate, the Ospreys finally were on the board.

After hitting a batter, Ethan Jones exited the game, with Stephen Halstead coming in. An error on a ground ball hit to shortstop allowed GSU to get another run on the board, now leading 3-1. Trey-Spratling Williams picked up his third hit of the game in the bottom of the eighth, but the Ospreys failed to capitalize once again, stranding more runners on base.

Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Ospreys needed two runs to stay alive. A one-out single by shortstop Abraham Sequera gave UNF a glimmer of hope. The tying run came to the plate in the form of outfielder Robbie Scott. A deep shot off Scott’s bat flew to center, but it didn’t have enough as it was caught for the second out. Alex Kachler was next, whose strong hit also fell short, giving Georgia Southern a 3-1 win.

This loss drops UNF’s record to 3-6 on the season. They will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend, although it will be no easy task. The Ospreys travel to Athens, where they will take on the ranked Georgia Bulldogs in a three-game series. All three games can be seen on SEC Network+, with Friday’s match slated to start at 5 p.m. Follow along with Spinnaker for the latest on UNF baseball.


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