CLEARWATER, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Over his last four starts, pitcher Jordan Spicer played some of his best baseball of the year. On Friday night in the elimination game of the American Athletic Conference Championship, the senior played the best baseball of his career.
With the UCF baseball team’s season on the line, Spicer delivered an inspired performance with a complete game to lead the No. 6 Knights to a 6-2 victory over No. 3 Tulane.
“I just wanted to go out there and play for my brothers,” Spicer said. “They’ve really held me up for a long time, and I just wanted to have their back with the season on the line.”
Spicer’s career outing will send the Knights into semifinals of the conference tournament on Saturday.
“I can’t begin to say how proud I am of Jordan Spicer,” head coach Greg Lovelady said. “He went out and competed for every pitch, stayed locked in and played the best baseball of his career. He pitched his tail off tonight. In what could be his last start, he gave us everything he had. We came up big with two-out hits all night. We answered every time they scored to keep the momentum on our side all night. It’s a short turnaround, but we need to be ready to go tomorrow against Cincinnati.”
Spicer threw his first career complete game at UCF. He tallied six strikeouts, with five swinging. The righty scattered eight hits and issued just one walk with a pair of runs allowed.
With the run support, Spicer found his zone. The senior thrived under the pressure, stranding runners in the second, third and fifth innings.
An inning later after the Green Wave got on the board, Matthew Mika belted a 1-0 offering over the wall in left for a solo shot that made it 3-1. Anthony George tacked on another run in the sixth on a shallow sacrifice fly to center, and Alejo had to juke around the catcher to score.
Spicer continued to groove through the eighth when he faced two on and no outs. The senior worked out of the jam, allowing just one run and striking out The American Player of the Year Kody Hoese in the process.
George gave his pitcher a little more breathing space in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer to left to start the frame. Brandon Hernandez then flashed his speed to score on a wild pitch during the next at-bat.
Back out for the ninth, Spicer closed the game out on a four-pitch strikeout.
No. 6 UCF (36-21) – 6, No. 3 Tulane (32-26) – 2
Winning pitcher: Jordan Spicer (3-0)
Losing pitcher: Chase Solesky (2-6)
Top hitters: Matthew Mika (2-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR), Tyler Osik (2-4, 1 R, 2 2B), Ray Alejo (2-3), Anthony George (1-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR)
Top pitchers: Jordan Spicer (9 IP, 6 K, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 R)
• Spicer dealt his complete game on 116 pitches
• The northpaw posted his first decision in eight starts.
• The senior notched his second straight quality start against the Green Wave. In two games this season against Tulane, Spicer had a 1.80 ERA, 15 innings pitched, 15 strikeouts and three walks.
• Spicer now has a 1.97 ERA over his last five starts with 27 strikeouts over 32 innings.
GOING, GOING, GONE
• Matthew Mika posted his seventh home run of the year, while George picked up his fourth.
• The Knights homered twice in a game for the 13th time this season.
• Along with Ray Alejo’s homer in the tournament opener, the Black and Gold has three dingers so far in the postseason.
• The Knights leveled the all-time series 25-25.
• UCF scored in the first inning for the 28th time this season.
• Spicer’s complete game was the second by a UCF pitcher this season, after Grant Schuermann’s complete game against UConn on March 29.
• With two steals, Ray Alejo recorded his fourth multi-swipe game of the season.
• All nine batters either recorded a hit or reached on a walk.
The Knights will head into the semifinal round of the American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday. No. 6 UCF will face No. 2 Cincinnati. If the Black and Gold wins game one, the two sides will play a second elimination game later in the afternoon. First pitch for the first game between the two sides is set for 47 minutes after the conclusion of the UConn Wichita State contest.
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