Spirits were high at UCF’s John Euliano Park Sunday afternoon as the Knights defeated the VCU Rams 8-2 to win the three-game weekend series.
UCF won Friday 10-9 before losing 4-3 Saturday night to set up Sunday's rubber match. Head coach Greg Lovelady said he thought Sunday was the best game the team has played all season.
“Offensively, even though we scored eight runs, it felt like we scored 15,” Lovelady said. “The guys did a tremendous job of jumping on them early. We kept putting pressure on them. At the end of the year, we’re going to look back and realize this was a huge series win for us.”
Junior starting pitcher Trevor Holloway struck out seven VCU batters in seven innings with no walks and only three hits allowed. Holloway credited location and consistency for his career-best performance.
“It’s just going out and pitching,” he said. “It’s 60 feet, 6 inches every time.”
He said although it was a high-stakes game with the series knotted up at one game apiece, he felt no pressure.
“It’s going through my routine, going out and pitching,” he said. “And knowing that they’re swinging the bat, so using my defense and throwing lots of strikes, switching it up, letting them do the work.”
The Knights took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning after sophomore right fielder Dalton Wingo hit an RBI single to right field that scored redshirt senior left fielder Tyler Osik. Senior designated hitter Chandler Robertson's bases-loaded walk then allowed junior first baseman Dallas Beaver to score, giving the Knights a 2-0 lead.
Senior shortstop Brandon Hernandez and redshirt junior center fielder Ray Alejo help extend the lead in the second inning, with Hernandez hitting a double off the top of the wall in left and Alejo driving him in with a double of his own. Alejo then swiped third and scored following a one-out sacrifice fly to the right from senior second baseman Matthew Mika making it 4-0.
The Knights secured three more runs in the fifth and six innings, including a home run in the fifth from Beaver, which was his second of the weekend.
Sophomore third baseman Adams Torres secured the last run in the bottom of the sixth, hitting an RBI single to bring in freshman center fielder Ben McCabe.
VCU didn’t score until the eighth inning, putting up its only two runs of the afternoon.
With the win, the Knights improved to 14-6 on the season. They will return to the field on Tuesday in Tallahassee, where they will take on the Florida State Seminoles. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.