ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Coming off a midweek sweep of Yale, the UCF baseball team will round out its marathon homestand to start the year with a three-game set against VCU this weekend at John Euliano Park.
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, along with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. All three games will be streamed through UCFKnights.TV.
UCF had solid pitching during its two-game series against Yale this week. Starters Jordan Spicer and Jaylyn Whitehead combined to strike out five batters over nine innings of work, while scattering six hits. The bullpen locked it down on the back end with 11 strikeouts to three walks. Jeffrey Hakanson picked up his fourth save of the year.
Offensively, UCF hit .354 as a team over the two games, led by Matthew Mika’s 5-for-7, two-RBI performance. Dalton Wingo and Adams Torres had career nights with three RBI on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
The Knights continue to lead The American in stolen bases after swiping eight during the midweek. The Black and Gold rank 17th nationally with 33 on the season. Mika is up to 10 swipes on the year to rank 28th in the country. The senior is tied with 68 career stolen bases with Alex Morales (93-95) for 10th most in a career in program history.
A host of young Knights have taken advantage of their opportunities over the last few weeks. Freshman catcher Ben McCabe earned four starts behind the plate and drove in a trio of runs with two extra base hits. Torres has four RBI through his six at-bats. Rookies Jay Lyons and Gephry Pena have also joined the action with an RBI and two runs scored, respectively.
Friday night will be UCF's Winter Park night to celebrate the support from the Winter Park community as a part of the Orlando's Hometown Team games.
For the second straight week, head coach Greg Lovelady will use the same starting rotation. Chris Williams battled through a tough third inning last Friday in his first loss of the year. The righty will enter the weekend with 14 strikeouts and one walk in 12 innings of work this season.
Grant Schuermann is back on the bump for Saturday with a 2.45 ERA. The southpaw earned his first win of the year last week. Trevor Holloway will round things out on Sunday. The junior is fourth in the conference with a 1.86 ERA.
• The Rams are off to a flying start with a 13-3 record, including a win over No. 6 North Carolina.
• VCU ranks ninth in the nation with a team on-base percentage of .423 and are eighth with 41 doubles.
• Offensively, Zac Ching leads the Rams with a .361 batting average, 20 RBI and 12 extra base hits.
GAME 1 – Friday, 6 PM
Chris Williams – RHP (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Jack Alkire - RHP (2-0, 0.66 ERA)
GAME 2 – Saturday, 6 PM
Grant Schuermann – LHP (1-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. Connor Gillispie - RHP (1-0, 1.71 ERA)
GAME 3 – Sunday, 1 PM
Trevor Holloway – RHP (1-0, 1.86 ERA) vs. Justin Sorokowski - RHP (1-0, 1.06 ERA)
• The all-time series is tied at 2-2 after splitting a four-game series back in 2009.
• Tyler Osik enters the weekend with a career-long 15-game on-base streak.
• Kyle Kemp will look to maintain his perfect ERA. He’s thrown 11 innings with 17 strikeouts and one hit.
• Dallas Beaver has the team lead with 15 RBI.
• The Knights have struck out at least 10 batters in 12 games this season.
• UCF is 55-25 when striking out at least 10 in the Greg Lovelady era.
• The pitching staff is second in The American with 10.2 strikeouts per game.
• The arms lead the league with 7.45 hits allowed per nine innings.
• Ray Alejo has 11 RBI entering the weekend and is tied with Mika for the team lead with five two-out RBI.
• Alejo leads the team with seven multi-hit games, and Beaver has a team-high five multi-RBI outings.
• The Knights started the season playing 19 of the first 20 at home.
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