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UNF continues postseason win streak with win over Kennesaw State

John Watson, Sports Editor

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

With this year’s final four being held at UNF’s Harmon Stadium, UNF is no stranger to their own ballpark and how far the outfield fences are from home plate. With this knowledge in mind, UNF was able to take a page out of the New York Yankees playbook and use the long ball to score runs in a hurry.

After advancing past Stetson in the first round via a 2-0 sweep, the Ospreys remain as one of the final four teams in the 2021 ASUN Tournament. This year’s format is slightly different with a double-elimination bracket with a winners side and a loser’s side.

Ricky Presno’s eighth-inning home run proved the difference maker as UNF held on for the 6-5 win over Kennesaw State (Justin Nedrow)

With this knowledge in mind, the Ospreys knew it was time to play ball and defeat the Owls. The Ospreys started the game off on a good note, with Alex Kachler recording the first runs of the game with a 2-run dinger to put the Ospreys up 2-0 early. Things would settle down until the fifth inning.

In the fifth, Isaiah Byars hit the Osprey’s second home run of the game to put the Ospreys up 3-0. While Kennesaw State saw opportunities, the Ospreys were holding firm and pitching well early on. This momentum would shift in the top of the sixth.

With the Owls finally stringing together hits in order to score runs, they used small ball and pitching errors from UNF to score four runs in the top of the sixth and take their first lead of the game. This Owls lead would be short-lived as two RBI doubles from Cade Westbrook and Isaiah Byars were enough to regain the Ospreys lead at 5-4.

Two innings later in the bottom of the eighth, the Ospreys would find a much-needed insurance run from Ricky Presno, who launched a home run to right field that put the Ospreys up by two going into the ninth.

With the Ospreys up 6-4, Brandon Reitz, the guy with the most saves in the ASUN, came up in the ninth to try and put this one away.

However, it wouldn’t be easy as the Owls would gain a run back with no outs on a home run from Alex Carballo. Luckily, Kennesaw State would falter, and a double-play secured the 6-5 victory for UNF.

Osprey pitcher Eddie Miller picked up the win as this marks UNF’s fourth straight win. Reitz picked up his 10th save of the season, which ties him for UNF’s single-season D1 save record. 

The Ospreys will now play the JU Dolphins, who defeated last year’s champion, the Liberty Flames. Kennesaw State will play the Flames in an elimination game. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+ with the Ospreys playing on Friday at 3 p.m. Follow along with UNF Spinnaker for more Osprey baseball coverage.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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