UNF softball’s season comes to an end following loss to JU

Riley Platt, Sports Reporter

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

After splitting Friday’s doubleheader, the Ospreys faced off against the Jacksonville Dolphins again on Saturday. A trip to the ASUN Final Four was on the line, but UNF would ultimately be bested by their rival in a painstaking loss.

There couldn’t have been higher stakes heading into Saturday’s showdown at the UNF Softball Complex. The winner would move on in the ASUN tournament, with the loser seeing their season end. 

With a 2-1 series loss to JU, UNF saw their season come to an end (Justin Nedrow)

Entering the weekend series, the Ospreys had taken four of six meetings during the 2021 season. Many of these meetings were close contests, and Friday’s doubleheader was no different. Game one was not a great start to the series, as JU took the opener 2-0. However, UNF would bounce back and take game two 5-2, forcing a win-or-go-home game three.

Taking the mound for UNF in game three was Morgan Clausen, with Alyssa Bilodeau doing the same for JU. Things were quiet early on, with both pitchers locked in from the start. However, the Dolphins would get things going in the top of the third with a lead-off single by Allison Bratek. This was followed up by an RBI triple hit down the left-field line by Samantha Poehlman, giving JU a 1-0 lead.

While the deficit was just one run, getting down in a pitching duel like this is never desirable. JU wasn’t done with their charge, though. The lead would grow to two runs due to an RBI single by Makenzie Buss in the top of the fourth. There was still time left, but the UNF offense just couldn’t seem to get anything going.

As the innings continued to pass, every at-bat became more and more crucial. This was seen in the bottom of the fourth when the Ospreys loaded the bases. Not being able to capitalize on this golden opportunity would go on to haunt UNF. Time was running out.

With stellar pitching at work, base runners weren’t exactly a hot commodity. JU’s Bilodeau did everything her team could have asked of her. UNF’s Clausen also pitched a fantastic game, giving up just five hits and striking out eight. However, the lack of support from the offense doomed the Ospreys as they ultimately fell 2-0.

Unfortunately for UNF, this heartbreaker would be the end of their season. JU now advances to the ASUN Final Four in Kennesaw as they pursue a conference championship. The Ospreys, on the other hand, finish their 2021 campaign with a record of 21-23, going 9-9 in ASUN play. 

While this early exit certainly wasn’t hoped for, saying the season was a failure would be foolish. For just about all sports, this year has been one of the strangest and most difficult to traverse through due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ospreys return a plethora of talent for next year and will hopefully be able to play in front of capacity crowds. The efforts of these student-athletes, both on and off the field, should be recognized and appreciated no matter what.


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