The UCF baseball team won its series finale against Jacksonville by a score of 6-4 at John Euliano Park on Sunday to clinch the three-game weekend series.
After an 8-5 loss to the Dolphins on Friday and a 3-0 win Saturday, Knights head coach Greg Lovelady said the team showed a lot of toughness in the final game of the series.
“To come out Friday and lose the game, it puts a little more pressure on you to win the series and our guys handled it really well,” Lovelady said.
The Knights started Sunday's game off with an early lead after a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning by sophomore infielder Griffin Bernardo allowed redshirt senior infielder Tyler Osik to score the first run of the afternoon.
Jacksonville responded in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-1 lead on a two-run home run by Angel Camacho.
The Knights came back strong in the bottom of the fourth. With Bernardo on third and senior infielder Matthew Mika on first, junior infielder Pedro Castellano got a bunt down, which led to a throwing error. Both runners scored to give the lead back to UCF.
Castellano scored another run on a sacrifice bunt by senior infielder Brandon Hernandez, bringing the score to 4-2.
UCF had trouble in the top of the seventh, going through a couple of pitching changes. Jacksonville evened the game at 4-4 with an RBI groundout from Christian Coipel and a game-tying single by Reagan Wright.
With two outs and the bases loaded, UCF brought in senior right-handed pitcher Garrett Westberg, who closed out the inning with a strikeout.
“I think every pitcher loves the pressure situations, especially when you have success in them,” Westberg said. “I really just tried to focus on one pitch at a time.”
Riding the momentum from Westberg striking out all four batters he faced, the Knights came through to break the tie in the bottom of the eighth.
Freshman catcher Ben McCabe came through with a one-out, pinch-hit single to start the rally, then Hernandez followed with a single of his own. Senior designated hitter Chandler Robertson delivered the clutch hit, doubling in both runners to give UCF a late 6-4 lead.
“It’s always good to come back after losing Friday night to win Saturday and Sunday,” Robertson said.
Robertson said the Knights are about to start rolling and are heading into their next midweek game ready to play.
With Sunday's win, UCF improved its record to 8-3. The team will play its next game March 6 against Ball State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at John Euliano Park.