Cincinnati, Ohio – The UCF baseball team split its series opening doubleheader at Cincinnati on Friday. The Knights defeated the Bearcats in game one, 8-6 and fell 2-1 in the nightcap.
Game One | UCF (13-16, 3-2 AAC) – 8, Cincinnati 11-15, 0-5 AAC) – 6
The Black & Gold jumped out to a two-run lead in the first with Ben McCabe and John Montes earning the RBIs. UCF started the third with back-to-back singles from Gephry Pena and Jordan Rathbone, followed up with a Tom Josten RBI double to left to pish across Pena. Rathbone and Josten would also come across to make it 5-0, Knights.
Cincinnati surged in the fourth inning, plating six runs on three home runs, a double and a single in the frame. Billy McKay entered the game with two runners on, one out and retired back-to-back batters to get the Knights out of the jam. McKay would toss 3.0 innings to earn the win with 5 strikeouts.
The Knights scored three in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a leadoff triple from Gephry Pena and an RBI double from Tom Josten to retake the 8-6 lead.
Winning Pitcher: Billy McKay (1-1)
Losing Pitcher: Zach Segal (1-3)
Top Pitchers: Billy McKay (3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 K), David Litchfield (2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 K)
Top Hitters: Ben McCabe (2-5, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2B), Tom Josten (1-1, 4 BB, 3 R, 2B, 1 RBI), Gephry Pena (2-5, 2 R, 3B)
- Gephry Pena's fifth inning leadoff triple was his first of the year and the Knights seventh as a team.
- The Knights are now 5-3 in series opening contests
Game Two | UCF (13-17, 3-3 AAC) – 1, Cincinnati 12-15, 1-5 AAC) – 2
The Knights received solid pitching in game two of the day. Serwa gave the Knights five innings of work with five punch outs. Freshman Ben Vespi provided three innings in relief, striking out four to hold the Bearcats scoreless.
Cincinnati took the first lead of the day after Harting reached on a passed ball and came around to score. They struck again in the fourth when Komistek led the inning off with a double and also scored.
Offensively, Josh Crouch was the only run on the board, tallying one with a solo shot in the fourth. The Knights would tally three hits in total, collecting five walks and left nine runners on base.
Winning Pitcher: Garrett Schoenle (W, 2-1)
Losing Pitcher: Kenny Serwa (L, 0-2)
Top Pitchers: Kenny Serwa (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB), Ben Vespi (3.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 K)
Top Hitters: Josh Crouch (1-4, 1 HR)
- After the opening day split, the Knights are now 13-8 all-time against Cincinnati
- Gephry Pena's on-base streak extends to 29 games after two hits in game one and a HBP in game two. The sophomore's streak dates back to March 6, 2020.
- Josh Crouch's fourth home run of the year means the Knights have now homered in 21 of the 30 games
- Kenny Serwa tossed 5 K's to bring his season total to 21
- Ben Vespi threw a career-high 3.0 IP while holding the Bearcats scoreless in relief.
The Knights look to win the four-game series at Cincinnati on Saturday, and will close the series with the Bearcats on Sunday at 1 p.m. Saturday's contest has been adjusted to begin at 10 a.m. due to impending weather in the area.
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