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Knight Cap: Baseball halts losing streak

Plus: Both Tennis prep for final regular season match

Noah Goldberg

The past two weeks of UCF Knights sports were quite busy ones. Two teams prepared for the end of their regular seasons, one team put a stop to a losing skid, and another team saw a change in leadership.

Plus, we name the Knights of the Week and Knight Play of the Week in your Knight Cap for Saturday, April 15, 2023.

Baseball Puts Away Stetson

The UCF Baseball team halted its losing streak by defeating Stetson 7-1.

Starting pitcher Cameron Leiter showed the most command he’s had all season as he picked up the first win of his collegiate career. He allowed only one walk to the Hatters in six innings. He also allowed just five hits while striking out seven batters.

On offense, the Knights (18-15, 1-5 AAC) were led by catcher Andrew Sundean, who got behind the plate for the third time in the five-game road trip. The sophomore hit a pair of solo home runs and got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring another run home.

LF Matt Cedarburg, a transfer from Southern Miss, also joined the home run party with a two-run shot in the 4th inning. It was the first home run of his collegiate career.

Thanks to Sundean and Cedarburg’s moonshots over the wall, UCF has reached 60 home runs as a team after 33 games of the 2023 season. The 2010 Knights, who hold the program single-season record with 78 home runs, did not reach 60 until Game 44.

3B Andrew Brait also helped in the runs department with a pair of RBI hits, a groundout, and the redshirt junior’s first career triple.

The Knights will look to keep the positive momentum going as they host Memphis this weekend, starting with Game 1 at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Softball Disposes of FIU

The UCF Softball team dispatched FIU in five innings on Tuesday, 9-1.

RF Chloe Evans and 1B Shannon Doherty teamed up for five of the Knights’ nine runs. Evans got hers thanks to a pair of triples while Doherty hit a homer in back-to-back games, followed by an RBI single and a bases-loaded walk.

While starting pitcher Sarah Willis and reliever Kaitlyn Felton combined to strike out only two batters, they only gave up five hits and one run in their five innings in the circle. The win brings Willis to 9-3 on the season.

The Knights (25-18, 4-2 AAC) get back to conference play this weekend as they head to Tulsa, Oklahoma to face the Golden Hurricane, with Game 1 set for 6 p.m. on Friday.

Podiums Spots for Track and Field in Miami

The UCF Track and Field team brought a small roster to Miami but was still able to bring home three medals.

In their first heptathlons of the season, Natalia Madison and Holly Cassels brought home silver and bronze-medal finishes respectively. Madison’s 5,234-point total also elevated her to 2nd in program history in the event, beating out Jamie Pew’s career-best mark by one point.

Not to be left behind, Kaylor Harris took home a bronze in the 100-meter hurdles with a 13.26-second time that only lost to Olympians, Nia Ali and Ebony Morrison. The time solidifies Harris in 7th in program history in the event.

With many of the Knights’ athletes taking a weekend off, the team slid back a few more spots in the USTFCCCA’s rankings to #14 in the nation.

The full squad will be back in action this weekend as they make another trip to Gainesville, this time for the Tom Jones Invitational.

Men’s Tennis tames Bulls, slays Blazers

The UCF Men’s Tennis team will be heading into its regular-season finale on a three-match winning streak after picking up a couple of victories over #53 South Florida, 4-3, and UAB, 4-2.

In singles play, redshirt senior Bogdan Pavel picked up wins in both matches in singles play to vault himself to #89 in the country in the singles-player rankings. Joining him at 2-0 for the week in singles are #124 Liam Branger and Yassine Dlimi, both true freshmen.

In doubles play, after an upset being narrowly upset by their Bull counterparts (6-7 (6-8)), Pavel and doubles partner Lleyton Cronje slid to #33 in the doubles-pair rankings, but rebounded with a 6-4 victory against UAB.

UCF (9-11, 4-1 AAC) will have one final test before they host the AAC Championship in the form of #56-ranked Tulsa. The match will be another shot for the Knights to take on a Golden Hurricane squad that defeated them, 4-1, back in January for ITA Kickoff Weekend.

The match will be underway at noon on Sunday.

Women’s Tennis Gets back to .500

The UCF Women’s Tennis team rebounded from three straight losses with a pair of victories against Bethune-Cookman, 4-0, and #59 South Florida, 4-1.

Due to only four student-athletes being available for the Wildcats, only four singles matches were played, all of which UCF won. Ultimately, redshirt senior Nandini Sharma, redshirt sophomore Anique Kattenberg, and #32-ranked senior Marie Mattel both brought home singles-play victories in both matches.

The Knights (9-9, 1-0 AAC) currently sit at #39 in the nation as they await to host #47 SMU at noon on Sunday in their regular season finale with a chance at a winning record.

Rowing head coach resigns after Big Ten Invite

After over a decade with the program, the UCF rowing team’s head coach, Becky Cramer, resigned from her position on Tuesday, per a UCF Athletics press release.

Cramer has been on a “leave of absence” since Feb. 21 at the earliest due to a tweet from Sons of UCF’s Trace Trylko.

Just as he has been for earlier regattas this season, assistant coach Montia Rice will perform head coaching duties for the rest of the 2023 season, athletic director Terry Mohajir said in the press release. Once the competition is over, a national search will get underway to find the Knights’ next coach.

The news came off a weekend of action in which the Knights did not bring home a single victory from the Big Ten Invite in Sarasota.

The team will look to rebound next weekend at the Lake Wheeler Invite in Raleigh, North Carolina from April 21-22.

Knight of the Week

Cameron Leiter, Baseball

In one of, if not the most in-command game of Leiter’s career, the true freshman set a new personal best in single-game strikeout count.

Knights Play of the Week

1B Shannon Doherty and SS Jasmine Williams pull off a double play to end the game