The UCF Knights Baseball team took its first weekend series loss of 2023 last weekend as it fell, 2-1, to Georgia Southern.
The Knights did not do themselves any favors this weekend early on, as they put themselves into an early hole in all three games. The Knights (8-3) starting rotation combined to allow 47% of the Eagles’ (7-4) runs on the weekend.
“Our starting pitching has just got to be a lot better if we’re going to win games,” head coach Greg Lovelady said after Game 3.
Game 1: Off With a (Walk-off) Bang
After going down by four runs midway through the 4th inning, the Knights scored six unanswered runs to take a walk-off win in Game 1, 6-4.
Home runs from C Ben McCabe and LF Lex Boedicker brought UCF to within one by the 6th inning to set the stage for the action of the 9th.
“It’s really really fun when those guys can get up there and one swing of a bat can change a baseball game, and they do just that and they do it well,” Plumlee said.
Plumlee would begin the inning with a double that came down to a bang-bang play at second base. The center fielder said he was “riskin’ it for the biscuit” once he saw the Eagle outfielder on the ground and the ball laying a few feet away from him.
“We always preach valuing 90 feet and trying to steal 90 feet when we can, and I saw this opportunity to steal 90 feet,” Plumlee said. “Just got to go for it sometimes.”
After a sacrifice bunt that got Plumlee to third, 1B Nick Romano tied the game up with an RBI single that brought the dual-sport athlete home.
That was followed by a walk-off two-run home run from 2B Tom Josten.
“That’s what you dream about,” Josten said. “Doing it at home too, it was the first one of my career, so it was everything I dreamed of and more.”
On the mound, Jacob Marlowe was credited with his 2nd win of the season in relief after he pitched the final three innings. He allowed no runs and just two hits from the 12 batters he faced. He currently ranks 8th in the nation in Walks And Hits Per Inning Pitched at 0.53.
Game 2: Double-Digit Setback
Rubber match tomorrow.— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 5, 2023
After going down 11 runs in the top of the 1st inning, UCF was not able to recover as they fell in Game 2, 19-7.
By the 4th inning, the Eagles opened up a 16-1 lead over the Knights. However, despite the large early deficit, UCF batters managed to get 12 hits on the night, one more than the previous game. This included two solo home runs from DH Andrew Sundean and LF Lex Boedicker.
Lovelady said after the game he was proud of the team for not giving up, showing up, and playing an 8-6 ballgame in innings 2-9.
“When you look back at the end of the year, this could be one of the biggest games of the entire year,” Lovelady said.
Game 3: Outran
Not our day. We'll see you back at JEP on Tuesday Knight.— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 5, 2023
While the Knights were able to keep the Eagles to a single-digit lead throughout Game 3, they still fell 11-8.
However, the UCF offense once again put forth a double-digit hitting effort with 13 hits. The standout was SS Drew Faurot, who went 3-4 on the day with 4 RBIs.
The true freshman helped cut the Knights’ margin of defeat to 3 runs thanks to a 2-run home run hit into the wind in the 9th inning.
The Knights’ home stand continues as they host North Florida on Tuesday at 7 p.m. as relief pitcher Zach Chappell now sits in the dugout across from his former team. The Ospreys were picked to finish 9th in the ASUN in the preseason, but they do have a preseason selection to the ASUN All-conference team in 2B Aidan Sweatt.
Next weekend, another Sun Belt opponent, the Troy Trojans, visits Orlando. The team was picked to finish 8th in the conference.
Player of the Weekend
C Ben McCabe
Thanks to picking up a couple more home runs this weekend, Ben McCabe is now alone in 5th place on the all-time UCF home runs list. He is also in the Top 10 in the nation for the most home runs so far this season with 7.
Now, McCabe is on the hunt to become the 5th Knight ever to hit 40 career home runs.
C Ben McCabe sends his 7th home run of the season and 37th of his career over the left-field fence to shrink the Knights' deficit to five runs. #GKCO #ChargeOn— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCFBanneret_SBN) March 5, 2023
He now stands alone with the 5th-most homers in @UCF_Baseball history.
End of 7th:#UCF: 6
Georgia Southern: 11 pic.twitter.com/2oBtQrWT7I
Play of the Series
JRP legs out a double to get the tying run to second base in Game 1
What a way to start the 9th inning pic.twitter.com/b7RNSimTiK— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 4, 2023