UNF baseball holds on late to down USF on the road

Riley Platt, Reporter

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

More than a week removed from their last game, the Ospreys traveled to Tampa on Tuesday to face the USF Bulls. There wasn’t much scoring, but would this prove favorable for UNF?

For the fifth consecutive game, UNF squared off with an opponent from the American Athletic Conference. The Ospreys entered this match with a record of 6-11, while the Bulls of South Florida came in at 9-8. Don’t let these records fool you, though, as UNF brought their A-game to Tampa.

 Lefty Zach Chappell would get the start for the Ospreys, producing 6.0 innings and a quality start (Justin Nedrow)

Getting the start for UNF was junior left-hander Zach Chappell, while Dawson Barr took the mound for the home Bulls. It would be a quiet first inning, with UNF stranding two runners and USF going three-up-three-down. The Ospreys would suffer a similar fate in the top of the second, with their three batters being sat down in order. A stranded runner on second would be the height of USF’s offense in the bottom of the second, carrying the scoreless tie into the third.

The Ospreys still couldn’t get anything going offensively in the third, but neither could their opponent. Through his first three innings of work, Chappell only allowed two baserunners in a stellar performance to that point. It was apparent that the squads would be in for a pitching duel to decide this one. 

Alas, the Ospreys would break onto the scoreboard in grand fashion as Austin Bogart belted a home run to left-center to give UNF a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. 

The Bulls would also get things going in the fourth, as a hit-by-pitch and a ground-rule double put runners on second and third with no outs. A pair of sacrifice fly-outs would put USF on the board and give them a 2-1 lead going into the fifth inning.

Through six innings, USF still maintained a one-run lead, but things would soon change. A bases-loaded opportunity presented itself for the Ospreys in the top of the seventh, and it was an opportunity that would not be squandered. The tying run was brought in as Trey Spratling-Williams was hit by a pitch, tying the game at 2-2. Next was a sacrifice fly courtesy of Blake Marabell, bringing in Grant Grodi to give UNF a 3-2 lead.

The Ospreys would once again find themselves on the flip side as the Bulls loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Following two walks by Chappell, UNF opted to bring in Stephen Halstead. The junior would walk a batter, leading to the bases-loaded conundrum. However, he was able to get his team out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout to left. The Ospreys had evaded potential catastrophe, but there was more baseball to be played.

Despite having a chance to bolster the one-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Ospreys failed to capitalize and needed just three outs to secure the victory. With Brandon Reitz on the mound, the Ospreys were able to hold on as he produced a groundout with the tying run on second, giving him the save. The Ospreys took the 3-2 victory in this stand-alone road game.

This win will provide a nice boost of momentum for the Ospreys as they return to the River City and face the Jacksonville Dolphins at JU over the weekend. This newest addition to the River City Rumble will be sure to provide plenty of action, so make sure to follow along with Spinnaker for the latest on UNF baseball.


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