Scherm's CG Leads to Win on Friday Night

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Grant Schuermann threw a complete game on Friday night to power the UCF baseball team to a 2-1 series opening win over UConn at John Euliano Park. The lefty went punch-for-punch with Huskies starter Mason Feole, the American Athletic Conference Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

“You can’t say enough about the way Grant pitched tonight,” head coach Greg Lovelady said. “When you’re going up against one of the top 20 pitchers in college baseball, you need a big start out of your guy, and that’s what we got from Grant. We needed it. He’s done a great job all year and slid back into the Friday role perfectly. You don’t see many complete games. We played great defense. Mika came up big in the eighth to give us the lead. This is a huge win and a great start to the weekend.”

Schuermann was electric all night, throwing 72 of his 103 pitches for strikes. He scattered four hits and issued just one free pass, a walk to leadoff the ninth. The graduate transfer struck out four in his first complete game as a Knight. It marked the third complete game of his career and the first since May 12, 2018, against East Tennessee State University during his time at Furman.

The southpaw worked through four scoreless innings, allowing just two runners on base to start the game and retiring the side in order in the first and third. The only blip on his record for the night came in the fifth inning on a solo home run from right fielder Kyler Fedko, that was the only time Schuermann allowed the Huskies to advance a runner to second all night.

Efficiency was essential for the first-year Knight, as he completed six innings with 10 or fewer pitches. Schuermann started off strong, recording 21 first-pitch strikes out of 29 batters faced.

“It felt really good today,” Schuermann said. “I was glad to save some of the arms in the bullpen. We were able to move the ball in and out, while working in the off-speed pitch. The defense came up big for me a few times and got the job done at the plate.

While Schuermann carved through the UConn lineup, the Knights had a tough test of their own against Feole. The lefty worked his way through 7 1/3 innings with four hits and two runs against, while striking out seven.

UCF jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Ray Alejo roped a leadoff double down the left field line and moved over to third on a groundout from Matthew Mika. With two outs during Dallas Beaver’s at-bat, Alejo came in on a wild pitch.

Feole worked out of a pair of jams in the third and fourth innings. After stranding a runner in scoring position in the third, UCF loaded the bases in the fourth, only for Feole to use a quick pickoff move to end the inning.

As Feole’s pitch count grew, the Knights were not able to take advantage until the eighth. Ray Alejo hit a one-out single to left and moved up to second on a walk by Tyler Osik, which spelled an end the UConn starter’s day. During the next at-bat, Matthew Mika drove the first pitch he saw to left field, giving Alejo plenty of time to round third and plate the winning run.

UCF (17-9, 1-3) – 2, UConn (15-9, 2-2) – 1
Winning pitcher:
Grant Schuermann (2-3)
Losing pitcher: Mason Feole (1-1)
Top hitters: Ray Alejo (2-4, 2 R, 1 2B), Matthew Mika (1-4, 1 RBI)
Top pitchers: Grant Schuermann (9 IP, 4 K, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER)

CGs and UConn
• The last three complete games for the Knights have come against UConn.
JJ Montgomery tossed seven innings in a shortened game at UConn in 2018.
• Robby Howell went the distance against the Huskies in 2017 at John Euliano Park.

• UConn leads the all-time series 11-8 after Friday night.
Tyler Osik extended his on-base streak to 24 games, a career long.
• The Knights have held an opponent to two or fewer runs 10 times this season, all have been wins.
Ray Alejo recorded his ninth double of the season. He now has 18 extra base hits in 2019.
• Schuermann is now 16-17 in his career dating back to 2015.

UCF will look to win the series tomorrow night against UConn. Chris Williams will get the ball for the Knights for first pitch at 6 p.m.

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