The UCF Knights Baseball team’s offense and defense dominated the UNF Ospreys all game en route to a 10-3 win. After losing two straight games to Georgia Southern, this was a game the Knights needed to win.
Let’s take a look at what led to victory:
So far this season, the Knights’ pitching staff has been inconsistent. Not so tonight.
Though they gave up three home runs, the Knights’ pitchers gave up just 5 total hits on a combined 100 pitches. They also only walked one Osprey batter.
Starting pitcher Dom Stagliano led the way for the staff. He pitched six innings, giving up three hits and one run. He struck out two batters. However, his most notable stat was the 60 pitches he threw. He got a lot of batters out almost immediately by forcing ground outs or pop-ups. His making quick work of the Ospreys’ offense prevented them from building any kind of momentum.
!— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 7, 2023
Through four scoreless frames, he's allowed just one hit pic.twitter.com/m9ftBzNbnC
“Efficiency was defiantly the number one thing,” Stagliano said after the game. “I think Mike (Maroth) preaches throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters, winning the one-one count. And I think I did a really good job on it. Also, strikeout numbers weren’t real high tonight, so it helped me get my pitch count, get ahead in the count, and get early contact.”
Stagliano is now 2-0 on the season.
The star of tonight’s game was unquestionably 2B Tom Josten. Six of the Knights’ 10 runs were because of him.
In three at-bats he recorded two hits, one walk, and six RBI. His two hits were back-to-back home runs. The first home run was a solo shot in the bottom of the 4th that scored the Knights’ first run of the game. The second home run was a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th.
TOMMY J GOES BACK-TO-BACK!— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 8, 2023
THE SECOND ONE?? A GRAND SLAM. pic.twitter.com/GrN8zimpow
Those two home runs bring Josten’s season total to 7 and continue his hot start to the season. Jostens himself said he believes this game was “[d]efinitely one of my better ones.”
“It was nice to get the grand slam,” he said. “Those RBIs add up.”
Players Making Big Plays
While Josten had the most eye-catching stats, several other players had solid performances that keyed the team’s victory.
3B Andrew Bait had three hits and two RBIs. He also forced an amazing double play to help the Knights get out of the fifth inning, an inning that saw the Ospreys hit a home run that cut the Knights’ lead in half and where it looked like they had a chance to score more runs. Catcher Cole Russo had two hits and an RBI. Infielder Lex Boedicker had two hits, one of which was a home run. 1B Ben McCabe followed up one of Josten’s home runs by hitting a double that would eventually allow him to get to home plate thanks to a double by DH Andrew Sundean.
LEX FLEX #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/heYx0bZWCf— UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) March 8, 2023
The team’s overall performance was something Knights Head Coach Greg Lovelady said he was very happy with.
“Tom (Josten) huge, huge day,” Lovelady said. “Six RBIs. Two home runs. Lex’s home run. Brait had three hits. I think it was eight or nine walks, plus a hit by a pitch. Only three strikeouts. We just did a lot of great things today. So it was fun. Proud of our kids for bouncing back.”
The Knights will be back in action on Friday at John Euliano Park, where they will start s three-game series against Troy.
This is a series that Coach Lovelady says will be a true test for the Knights.
“It’s going to be a big challenge,” Lovelady said. “They got a couple of really really good arms. And then they’re really good offensively. So we’re going to have to be able to pitch. We’re going to have to be able to score some runs and do the things we did tonight.