ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite a mid-inning rally, the No. 24 UCF baseball team was unable to catch up to Florida Atlantic on Opening Knight, falling short 12-6 in the first contest of the 2021 campaign.
The Knights fell into a 4-0 deficit after the second inning, as the Owls combined a UCF defensive error and a pair of extra base hits to post a three-run inning.
In the third inning of the game, Matt Archer broke up the Owls no-hit bid with a single and came around to score as Tom Josten put the Knights on the board with an RBI single up the middle. FAU answered with a run of their own in the top of the fourth to maintain their four-run lead.
Tom Josten continued to leave his mark at the plate, mashing a grand slam in the seventh inning to tie the game at five runs a side. Once again, Florida Atlantic answered the Knights offense, putting up four runs of their own in the next half inning.
Florida Atlantic shut the door on the Knights attempt to fabricate a late inning rally, posting four runs in the eighth and another three unanswered in the top of the ninth.
FAU (1-0) – 12, UCF (0-1) – 6
Winning Pitcher: Hunter Cooley (1-0)
Losing Pitcher: Billy McKay (0-1)
Top Hitters: Tom Josten (2-5, HR, 5 RBI), Josh Crouch (3-4, 1 BB), Matt Archer (2-3, 3 R, 1 RBI)
Top Pitchers: Zack Hunsicker
- The five-RBI performance from Tom Josten is the first time a Knight has had exactly five RBI since Austin Griffin completed the feat against LIU Brooklyn in 2016.
- Josten's seventh-inning grand slam was the first since Matthew Mika's at Wichita State in April 2019.
- Behind the plate, Josh Crouch threw out his first would-be base stealer of the 2021 campaign in the fifth inning of the contest
- After entering the game in relief, Zack Hunsicker pitched three scoreless innings, only allowing a single hit.
- With the loss, the Knights fall to 32-16 all-time in Opening Knight contests.
- The Knights still lead the all-time series vs. Florida Atlantic, 38-36.
The Knights will hit the road for the first time this spring to continue the series with Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla. on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
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