Press Release for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UNF makes history in win over Gators: Ospreys upset Florida before record crowd at Harmon Stadium

Contact: Eric Scott, Assistant Director
Athletics Media Relations
(904) 620-4029



In the most historical sporting event in UNF campus history, the University of North Florida baseball team did exactly what it needed to do and upset No. 23 Florida, 3-0, in front of a record crowd of 3,194 at Harmon Stadium.

The game proved to be a pitching duel of epic proportions with the score knotted at zero through seven and a half innings. Then in the bottom of the seventh, senior Brian Wilson became the hero and blasted a single through the left side to drive in freshman Steve Hillan to put UNF (9-15) ahead for good and improve the Ospreys' all-time series lead over the Gators to 4-2.

Junior Preston Hale crushed a double to left field in the next at bat, which allowed Wilson and sophomore Michael Smith score. It proved to be all senior RHP Spencer Jones needed, as he closed the door on the Gators in the top of the ninth, ending the game with two-straight strikeouts.

The Ospreys wouldn't have been triumphant if it weren't for the stellar performance of their pitching staff. Starter Michael Kelly held Florida (14-8) scoreless through the first 4.1 innings and notched four strikeouts while allowing just three hits.

Senior RHP Antonio Franzese came up big for the Ospreys in the top of the fifth, entering the game with runners on the corners and one out. Franzese beared down and got UF's Buddy Munroe to strikeout and Avery Barnes to fly out and end the inning.

Franzese cruised for the next two innings, giving up just one hit before he passed the torch to Jones. In the final two innings, Jones didn't allow a single hit and struck out five Gators to tally the win.

It was the first time the Ospreys had ever beaten a ranked in-state opponent at home, and it was UNF's second shutout in the last three games. The win extended the Ospreys' winning streak to three games and improved UNF's record against Florida to 2-0 in games played in Jacksonville. The game was also the first recorded shutout in the all-time series.

UNF will try to duplicate its feat against the Gators at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Gainesville, Fla. The game will be broadcast live on WBOB-AM 1320 in Jacksonville.

-www.unfospreys.com-