After two straight weekends going 1-2, the UCF Knights Baseball team captured statement victories over spring break against No. 21-ranked Florida State.
It was the first time the Knights beat the Seminoles in Orlando since 1987, making it the first time Florida State has lost when playing in John Euliano Park, which opened in 2001.
Florida State’s presence in the City Beautiful once again drew a large crowd, with 6,755 fans in attendance across the two games. It is the 3rd-largest home series attendance in program history. Seminole visits now make up 3 of the Top 5-largest home series attendance in program history.
Game 1 alone, with 3,547 fans in attendance, ranks as the 8th-most attended home game in program history.
“You got to tune out the fans a little bit, just straight to the catcher, but when you get time to appreciate it it was pretty spectacular tonight,” Game 1 starting pitcher Dom Stagliano said.
Game 1: Opening with a Blowout
KNIGHTS TAKE GAME ONE!!— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 15, 2023
Let's do it again tomorrow #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/s5HWiEProF
The cleat was on the other foot for the Knights to start things off, as it was they that got to be in the lead by double-digits on Tuesday night for Game 1, cruising to a 14-3 victory.
“It sure is a lot more fun to jump on a team than it is to get jumped on like we have been,” head coach Greg Lovelady said.
The Knights picked up all of their 14 runs by the 5th inning, with 12 of them coming when they were batting for 2 outs.
“We talk a lot about ‘Play till you get three outs.’” Lovelady said. “You got one out left, you got a chance, no matter what the score is.”
It helped that three UCF batters hit multi-run home runs that night: 2B Tom Josten, DH Andrew Sundean, and 1B Nick Romano. For Romano, it was his first home run since the two he hit on Opening Knight against Siena.
“I needed that bad,” Romano said after Game 2. “Just need to keep doing it. Just keep putting the bat on ball and we’ll see what happens.”
On the mound, Stagliano pitched the first 7 innings, his longest outing of the season to this point. He allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs and struck out 7 batters, tying his season high.
“I think tonight was a real showing of what we can do in all three facets of the game,” Stagliano said.
Game 2: Finishing Them Off
That's a SWEEP of the Seminoles #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/NGSZ6TK8J7— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 15, 2023
The Knights once again built up to big of an early lead, albeit a smaller one, for the Seminoles to overcome in Game 2, getting a 6-3 victory to complete the sweep.
All but one of UCF’s runs came in the 4th inning, where Josten, Sundean, and Romano each hit RBI singles that got the Knights up 6-0.
“I think we’re just seeing the off-speed up and not chasing a pitcher’s pitch, just getting our pitch and doing damage to it,” Romano said.
Just like Stagliano before him, starting pitcher Jacob Marlowe went 7 innings, which was the longest outing of his career. In that time he allowed 8 hits and 2 runs. He also set a new career high in strikeouts, getting 5.
It was a rebound performance for Marlowe, who was coming off his 0.1 inning appearance against Troy in which he have up 6 runs on 4 hits.
“We’re just more aggressive,” Marlowe said. “We’re getting ahead of counts, we’re not falling behind, and that gives us a lot more room to work with. That’s how I got all my outs, basically.”
We're closing out our 12-game homestand with Dartmouth this weekend!⚔️— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 16, 2023
⚾️: https://t.co/F8sZUKJU6h#ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/9RTlhi0Qi4
The Knights will close a lengthy home stand this weekend as they take on Dartmouth. The Big Green are coming off splitting a 2-game midweek series against South Florida where they picked up their first win of the season. They will be 1-8 as they arrive in Orlando.
Dartmouth was ranked 3rd in the Ivy League Preseason Poll. The team also sports one of college baseball’s premier hitters thus far in SS Tyler Cox. Cox is rated as the 5th-toughest batter in the nation to strike out and ranks 15th in the nation in batting average and 17th in on-base percentage.
Player of the Series
DH Andrew Sundean
In his 4 hits across his 8 at-bats against the Seminoles, Sundean brought home at least one run in every single one of them. He accounted for 7 of UCF’s 19 RBIs across both games.
Play of the Series
LF Lex Boedicker makes a diving grab
No fly zone⛔️@LBoedicker | #ChargeOn https://t.co/dZlsUZFLXN pic.twitter.com/chxTxf9YY5— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 14, 2023