Bullpen’s joint effort leads UNF past Stetson in series opener

Riley Platt, Reporter

UNF baseball made the trip to DeLand in a critical match as they looked to break their four-game skid. A well-rounded effort from the Ospreys enabled them to power past ASUN powerhouse Stetson.

Tony Roca took the mound for the Ospreys, with Nick Durgin doing the same for Stetson. The game started off with a quiet first inning, but this silence would not last long as Mother Nature made her presence known. A weather delay lasting nearly two hours ensured a late night ballgame, with the last pitch being thrown after 11 p.m. 

Play resumed once the skies cleared, but the pitching matchup looked vastly different. Both squads pulled their starters as a result of the delay, opting to go to their respective bullpens. Now in for UNF was Darin Kilfoyl, the 6 foot 8 inch righty out of Land O’Lakes.

The Ospreys were first to strike, as former Stetson Hatter Austin Bogart homered to left-center to put UNF up 1-0 in the top of the third. The Hatters would respond, tying the game at 1-1. UNF head coach Tim Parenton went to his bullpen again, bringing in Rafael Santos.

The fourth inning would see another Osprey run, as a RBI double by Aidan Sweatt would bring in Grant Grodi to take a 2-1 lead. Santos went to work, something that would be critical as the UNF pitching staff pieced this game together as they went.

The fifth inning would prove wildly successful for UNF, putting up three runs. The show got started with an Abraham Sequera home run, which was then followed up by a RBI double by Alex Kachler. With the bases loaded with two outs, a wild pitch brought in another run for the Ospreys, bolstering their lead to 5-1.

A pair of RBI’s for Stetson in the fifth would tighten things up, but what the Hatters didn’t know was that this would be their last runs scored of the night. With Santos tying his career long of three plus innings pitched, UNF went back to the pen, bringing in Stephen Halstead. 

The seventh inning would see the Ospreys tack on another run, with Blake Marabell capitalizing on a bases loaded situation with a sacrifice fly. Now up 6-3 late, the game was in the hands of the bullpen. Halstead excelled, but a leaping catch by Aidan Sweatt stole the show. Not only was it a spectacular play, but it prevented a run that would have likely scored.

Eddie Miller came in to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, UNF’s fifth pitcher to see action on the evening. Miller did his job, becoming tied for third in most appearances in UNF Division I history along the way. The top of the ninth would see the Ospreys add one more insurance run on another Marabell sacrifice fly to expand the lead to 7-3. 

Last but not least, Brandon Reitz entered the contest at the start of the ninth looking to close this one out. It was a walk in the park, as Reitz sat down the Stetson batters with just 12 pitches. The losing streak is no more thanks to UNF’s 7-3 win to start the road series. It takes a village, which was seen with the Ospreys utilizing six pitchers in the win.

An all-hands-on-deck effort is certainly a sight for sore eyes, as UNF looks to go on a run to catapult up the ASUN standings. Now 10-15 (4-3 ASUN), a win on Saturday would tie the Ospreys with the Hatters for second in the south division. Saturday’s game will start at 6:30 p.m., with Sunday’s game starting at 1 p.m., with both games available to stream on ESPN+.


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