The UCF baseball team lost momentum Sunday afternoon against the Penn State Nittany Lions late in the game and were defeated 11-5 at John Euliano Park.
While UCF was battling it out with Penn State up until the sixth inning, the Knights gave up a grand slam, homer and two walks in the top of the seventh, ending the weekend series with a loss.
UCF junior right-handed pitcher Trevor Holloway kept the Knights ahead in the first six innings with five strikeouts and only allowing eight hits.
“It’s just about throwing strikes, getting guys out and competing as much as I could," Holloway said. "I knew they were an aggressive team so I wanted to stay around their zone.”
A game that relied strongly on the pitchers, UCF sophomore right-handed pitcher Jeffrey Hakanson fell short to the pressure in the top of the seventh inning.
Hakanson hit Penn State senior shortstop Conlin Hughes with a pitch for a walk to first with bases loaded tying the score 3-3.
UCF pitchers hit three Penn State players in the last three innings and had seven pitcher changes during the game.
“Tough weekend [where] we just didn’t do enough [and] we got outplayed, outcoached,” UCF head coach Greg Lovelady said. “Didn’t pitch well enough, offensively we had guys scuffling and guys going in off the bench late.”
Only a start to the downhill spiral, Hakanson allowed two RBIs off walks, bringing the Nittany Lions to a 5-3 lead. Penn State junior second basemen Gavin Homer hit a grand slam bringing Penn State up 9-3 at the top of the seventh inning.
“We gotta play, we gotta do a lot of soul searching to figure out where the issues are and get back to the team we think that we can be,” Lovelady said.
Picking it up in the bottom of the ninth, the Knights stepped up their game bringing home two more runs but it wasn't enough to come back from the eight-run deficit.
“We understand it’s in the past now," Holloway said. "We will take tomorrow as a team to get our minds right for the following week and the games throughout the week.”
The Knights will face the Yale Bulldogs in a two-game series starting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at John Euliano Park.