VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Knights Complete Sweep of No.1 Ranked Florida Gators, Have Won 9 in a Row
By Ian MacDougall, UCF KNIGHTS Sports // March 8, 2018
First Time Ever UCF beats No.1 in baseball
ABOVE VIDEO: After knocking off the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in program history, the UCF baseball team completed the sweep against No. 1 Florida.
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – After knocking off the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in program history, the UCF baseball team completed the sweep against No. 1 Florida.
On Wednesday night, the No. 23 Knights held the Gators to four hits in a 4-2 win at McKethan Stadium.
“That was a big win,” head coach Greg Lovelady said. “It’s really exciting to take two games against the No. 1 team in the country. I’m really proud of the guys. I didn’t think we played our best, but we were able to do enough to win. Joe Sheridan gave us a great start. The bullpen did a great job. We had big-timely hits.
“This is a tough place to play, and for us to come out of this week with two wins, I’m really proud.”
Joe Sheridan held the Florida (12-3) bats at bay during his five innings of work. Aided by an inning-ending double play in the first, the sophomore allowed just one runner into scoring position in the opening four frames. Sheridan exited after five innings with four strikeouts, five walks, two hits and one earned run.
Eric Hepple, Jeffrey Hakanson and Bryce Tucker worked the Knights through the next 3 2/3 innings, before Garrett Westberg earned his second save in as many days in the ninth.
UCF (10-3) used the long ball to score three runs on the night. Rylan Thomas gave the Knights the best start possible. With Ray Alejo standing on third in the first, Thomas hammered a home run to left field to put the Black and Gold up 2-0. After the Gators pulled a run back in the fifth, Matthew Mika scored the eventual game-winning run in the sixth.
The junior laced a 1-2 offering over the wall in left for his first home run of the year. Chandler Robertson added an insurance run as a pinch hitter in the seventh. The Canadian brought in Tyler Osik on an RBI single.
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights of the Knights Game 1, 9-7 win back in Orlando on Tuesday night.
No. 23 UCF (10-3) – 4, No. 1 Florida (12-3) – 2
Winning pitcher: Joe Sheridan (2-0)
Losing pitcher: Jordan Butler (1-1)
Top performers: Joe Sheridan (5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K), Eric Hepple (2 IP, 2 K), Rylan Thomas (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 HR)
WORKING OUT OF JAMS
• UCF forced Florida to strand nine runners of the base paths.
• Sheridan faced a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. After giving up Florida first run on a walk, the sophomore induced a fly out for the final out.
• Tucker entered the game in the eighth with two out and two on. After the Gators scored on an RBI single, Tucker closed the door to keep the Knights on top.
• Westberg faced the potential game-tying run at the plate in the ninth. The Federal Way, Wash., native sealed the win two pitches later with a fly out to left.
• Florida now leads the series 27-20.
• UCF has three wins against the Top-25 this season.
• Outside of the top of the Florida order, the Knights gave up just one hit to the rest of the lineup.
• Hakanson and Tucker both finished with two strikeouts.
UCF will renew its long rivalry with Siena this weekend. The two clubs will meet on Saturday for a doubleheader at 2 p.m., before the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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