The UCF baseball team will face the VCU Rams for the first time since 2009 in a three-game series on Friday evening at John Euliano Park.
Heading into the series, the Knights are 12-5 on the season after Wednesday’s 8-1 victory over the Yale Bulldogs, while the Rams are 13-3 overall and on a nine-game winning streak.
The UCF pitching staff will look to the same starting lineup for the second weekend in a row.
UCF redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Chris Williams will start on the mound for the Knights on Friday. After taking his first loss of the season in the series opener against Penn State, Williams has 14 strikeouts and one walk in the 12 innings he's pitched going into the weekend series.
The Rams will look to right-handed pitcher Jack Alkire to start the first game of the series. The senior has 15 strikeouts and seven walks in just over 13 innings pitched this season.
UCF left-handed pitcher Grant Schuermann will take the mound Saturday. The redshirt senior will enter the game with 16 strikeouts and six walks in the 22 innings he's been on the mound.
Schuermann will matchup against VCU junior right-handed pitcher Connor Gillispie on the bump. Gillispie will enter the Saturday game with 27 strikeouts and five walks in 21 innings pitched — the both Schuermann and Gillispie lead their respective teams in most innings pitched.
UCF junior right-handed pitcher Trevor Holloway is slated to take the mound Sunday, entering the series with 22 strikeouts and 14 walks in just over 19 innings pitched.
Holloway will face VCU right-handed pitcher Justin Sorokowski on the mound Sunday. The redshirt sophomore comes into the game with 21 strikeouts and four walks in 17 innings on the mound.
After UCF's 7-5 victory over Yale on Tuesday, UCF head coach Greg Lovelady said the pitching staff needed to work on not wasting pitches and throwing better overall going into Wednesday's game against Yale.
Lovelady said UCF redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Jaylyn Whitehead did just that and dominated the mound leading the Knights to an almost scoreless game against the Bulldogs in the series finale.
After the midweek sweep over Yale, Whitehead said the Knights are going into the series against VCU with a much different mindset.
"Sometimes there's moments where you can get complacent and this series was not one of those," Whitehead said. "Going into the weekend, we’re just thinking about attacking. Going out against VCU and letting them know this is who we are — that’s our game plan."
Lovelady said he knows the weekend series will be a big challenge but that the goal of the season is to get continually better.
"I’m just really hoping the starting pitcher comes out and pitches a lot better this weekend," Lovelady said. "[I'm hoping each pitcher] goes deep in the game and is able to continue to get better."
The first pitch of the series is set for 6 p.m. Friday at John Euliano Park.