The UNF Ospreys are feeling wild and loose after sewing up the weekend series vs. Kennesaw State.

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UNF Clinches Bird Battle With KSU in The ASC.

At The Ballpark

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Before you think that today’s Kennesaw State-North Florida game wasn’t important, ask the Owls if they wanted this one. Since the 2014 NCAA Super Regional team the Owls have won just two games in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. And this year, they are in danger of not even making their own conference tourney, and missing the Big Dance for the fifth straight season. 

The Owls came into today’s game at UNF with an 8-11 mark in Atlantic Sun play, good for seventh place in the standings. The problem is that only the top six of the ASun advance to the post-season tournament. They came in 1.5 games behind sixth place Stetson for that final spot.

And yes, today didn’t help coach Mike Sansing and his troops too much since they suffered a jog-off 3-2 loss to the Ospreys to put the Owls really behind the eight ball with just four games in ASun action to play. In other words, it could very well be panic time for the Gold & Black. 

Something tells me the KSU Owls could be prime candidates for the Ouch List.

Meanwhile the Ospreys improve to 11-9 and with Lipscomb’s loss to Liberty, jump over the Bison to move into third place in the Atlantic Sun. 

 
WHAT I SAW AT HARMON STADIUM
I got to see the first 6.2 innings of this one and it was a tightly-bound affair. As it turned out Tanner May came up as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and hit a game-winning RBI sac fly to left field to lock up the weekend series for the Ospreys.

LINESCORE:
Kennesaw St – 000 000 200 – 2  4  1
North Florida – 002 000 001 – 3  6  3

PITCHING
WP: Eddie Miller, 3-3
LP: Brian Exley, 0-1
Save: None

TOP HITTERS.
Owls: 
– Tyler Simon, 2-for-3

Ospreys: 
– Wes Weeks, 1-for-4, HR, 2RBI
– David Maberry, 1-for-4, double in 9th.

RECORDS:
– Kennesaw State, 23-28, 8-12 ASun
– UNF, 30-20, 11-8

 
HOW IT WENT DOWN: 
After Friday’s 8-0 blowout win over the Owls, the Ospreys had Senior Day today and did not disappoint the friends and family that showed up for their special day. And as mentioned above, this game meant a lot more to KSU, considering the post-season ramifications. But even though they played with much more heart and purpose than they did in the opener of this three-game series, the Owls still couldn’t overcome the Ospreys in a riveting 3-2 loss. 

As you could guess it was a tight, pitcher’s-duel kind of day. Owl starter Nick Marchese and Osprey starter Ryan Kennedy put on a pretty good show with solid starts on the mound. Eventually the Ospreys jumped out on top first with a two-run bomb from Wes Weeks in the third inning to put the Owls on their heels for the second day in a row. But this time KSU wouldn’t go down as easy as the Friday night rout was. 

Nick Marchese didn’t get the win – thanks in part to his own fielding faux pas – but he pitched well enough in a 6.2 inning, three-hit, two-run outing. Oh, and both runs were unearned.

 

… but KSU’s Ryan Kennedy didn’t do too shabby either, going 6.0 innings, giving up five hits and just two earned runs.

But to be honest this game became a tie game once again solely because of the Ospreys own foibles, highlighted by three fielding errors in the seventh inning, which led to the tying runs from the Owls. With runners on second and third and two out, Owl hitter David Chabut hit a no-doubt, easy-out bouncer right back to Marchesse, who bent down to field the ball only to have it skip under his glove, allowing the first score of the game for the Owls (instead of the inning-ending third out). After a pitching change, another error, this time from catcher Austin Hurwitz on a throw to first base, allowed the tying run to score from third and make this a 2-2 game going down to the last two innings. 

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the singing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” in the middle of the  seventh because I had to get to the Mike Martin Tribute/Roast on the Florida State campus later on in the evening. But I missed a real hum-dinger of a finish at Harmon Stadium as the ninth inning saw  David Maberry start the inning with a sonic screamer to the wall in left field, putting him on second base. Three batters later, with two out and the pressure on, pinch hitter Tanner May hit the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly to left field, scoring pinch runner Alex Hendricks from third. Here is how it looked… 

Great win for the Ospreys. Bad loss for the Owls. North Florida *almost* cements their appearance in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. I saw almost because they’d have to go 0-4 and the Owls would have to go 4-0 for UNF to miss the post-season. And with the way this 2019 season has gone for Kennesaw, don’t bet on it turning out good for the Owls and bad for the Ospreys.

I know, I know, that’s just harsh on my part. But that’s how it is man.

 

PICS
Additional images from today’s game at UNF…

Unfortunately Kennesaw State left fielder Garrett Hodges has the leaping ability of a white dude as he watches Wes Weeks’ third-inning home run sail out of his reach at the wall.

 

Weeks is met at home plate by leadoff man Chris Berry (21) after his yard call put the Ospreys up 2-0.

 

Osprey centerfielder Tanner Murphy uses his sizable speed to run down another pop fly. Murphy became the UNF all-time steals leader in Friday night’s lidlifter.

 

Kennesaw third baseman David Chabut has the hops and the blonde flow to look like a stylish dirtbagger.

 

Despite this obvious pop-up, KSU leadoff man Tyler Simon led the Owls with a pair of hits on Saturday. No other starter had a multi-hit day for the Black and Gold.

 

… Simon also made a handful of defensive plays that stopped even his own teammates in their tracks they were so stealth-like.

 

Kennesaw Right fielder Terence Norman, a two-time All-ASun performer gunned down a runner at third today, bringing back shades of Roberto Clemente. Oh and I dig the gold spikes too. Nice touch.

 

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