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UCF Baseball Ends Spring Break With Sweep of Dartmouth

Knights extend their winning streak to five

Courtesy of UCF Baseball

The UCF Knights Baseball team followed up their successful series against Florida State by sweeping Dartmouth in three games.

Each victory came in a much different way. There was a game where they dominated. Then there was a game when they needed a miracle. And then there was a game where they just did what they needed to do.

The one thing that each game had in common was the outcome: a victory. And for head coach Greg Lovelady, that’s what’s most important.

“Good to get a good sweep,” Lovelady said.

Let’s take a look at each game to see what it took for the Knights to get that sweep.

Game 1: Blowout

The first game of the series was all Knights. They took the lead in the 1st inning and never looked back, cruising to a 16-1 victory.

The team was solid on both sides of the game. The defense was highlighted by the performance of the pitching and more specifically the performance of starting pitcher Ruddy Gomez.

Gomez pitched for six innings, giving up five hits and one run. He impacted the game the most through his ability to get the strikeout. Out of the 17 Dartmouth batters the Knights struck out, Gomez sat down 12 of them. He attributed his ability to get so many batters to his slider.

“It feels good to have control of my slider, a little bit better,” Gomez said. “As opposed to earlier in the season. I didn’t have it as much. I’m able to control it a little bit more now. So it feels a lot better to use that in the games.”

Multiple Knights players showed off their hitting ability in this game as well. The team recorded a total of 15 hits. 10 out of the 16 players who made appearances at the plate had at least one hit.

Some of the more notable hitting performances came from 1B Nick Romano, who had two hits, including a three-run home run, and five RBIs, LF Lex Boedicker, who had two hits, including a three-run home run, and five RBIs, and SS Drew Faurot, who hit a grand slam.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Faurot said. “I think we all did pretty good. We stayed focused the whole game and played hard.”

It is fair to say that out of all the games in this series, this was the Knight’s best.

Game 2: Comeback

Game 2 saw the Knights scratch and claw, as well as ask for some good luck, to get the 12-10 victory.

The entire defense struggled in this game. The team allowed 15 hits and committed four errors. The Knights ended up using six pitchers. Starting pitcher Nick Vieira lasted 3.2 innings before being pulled, and that was the longest stint of the day.

“Our defense just let us down today,” Lovelady said. “I mean between balls that should have been caught, not being able to block balls and giving up runs that way and strike threes, just defensively terrible.”

The hitting struggled for most of the game as well. In the first seven innings, the team only had five hits and was struck out seven times. Heading into the 8th the team was down six runs and the game looked to be over.

So you may be wondering if the team struggled how did they win the game? The answer to that is simple: the offense woke up and then exploded in the 8th inning.

The team scored nine runs in the inning. The team loaded the bases and then began slowly chipping away at the lead with RBI singles, walks, and getting hit by a pitch. The comeback was completed by 3B Andrew Brait when he smashed a grand slam over the fence to give the Knights their first lead of the game and ultimately the victory.

“When I was going to the plate I was just trying to get the next guy up,” Brait said. “He gave the pitch I was looking for and I wasn’t going to miss it.”

Game 3: Defense

While the defense struggled in Game 2, it led the Knights to victory in Game 3.

This didn’t look to be the case in the 1st inning as starting pitcher Cameron Leiter gave up two hits and two runs. He would be pulled after the second inning, in which he gave up one more hit. Dom Stagliano came in to replace him, and he took control of the game.

Despite pitching earlier in the week, Stagliano pitched for five innings. He gave up two hits and no runs. He also struck out nine batters. He attributed his ability to keep Dartmouth off balance to his cutter.

“They’ve shown in the scouting report that they’re not a very good slider-hitting team and my cutter plays a little like a slider,” Stagliano said. “So I think in general just having that pitch in my back pocket there, throwing for strikes and landing it was the biggest thing.”

The Knights’ offense did what it needed to do in this game. Immediately after giving up two runs in the top of the 1st, the team responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the same inning, before going on to add two more runs later in the game. DH Andrew Sundean had the best performance of the day, going three-for-five at the plate, while also recording three RBIs.

“Andrew with three RBIs, it’s just amazing.” Lovelady said.

What’s Next?

The Knights will travel to Jacksonville to play a single game against North Florida, who they previously beat in the season, on Tuesday. After that, they will be back at John Euliano Park for a three-game series against the Maryland Terrapins.

Player of the Series

Andrew Sundean

Sundean recorded nine hits and seven RBIs.

Play of the Series

Andrew Brait’s game-winning grand slam