Orlando, Fla. – The UCF baseball team swept Houston in their series-opening doubleheader, winning game one 3-1 and game two 2-1.
Pitching led the way for the Knights, only allowing eight hits, two runs, and striking out 21 Cougars in their 18 innings of work.
Game One | UCF (25-28, 14-14 AAC) – 3, Houston (19-29, 7-18 AAC) – 1
Freshman Hunter Patteson got the start for the Knights. He pitched a quick first inning before giving up a run in the second off of a Samuel Tormos single that plated Brandon Uhse.
Down 1-0, Ben Vespi came in to pitch in the third inning. The Cougars got runners on the corners, but Vespi pitched his way out of it without giving up a run.
In the bottom of the inning, Gephry Pena ripped a single and then stole second base for his 25th stolen bag of the season.
In the fifth, Andrew Brait got on base with a single, followed by Pena working a walk. Jordan Rathbone came up to the plate with two outs and hit a bomb to left field to give the Knights a 3-1 lead.
That would be all the Knights needed because the bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings while only allowing two hits.
Winning Pitcher: Ben McKay, (W, 2-3)
Losing Pitcher: Jaycob Deese (L, 2-6)
Top Pitcher: Billy McKay (3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 4 K)
Top Hitters: Jordan Rathbone (1-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI), Gephry Pena (3-3, 2 2B, 1 R, 1 BB)
- Gephry Pena picked up his 25th stolen base of the 2021 campaign. His 23 stolen bases lead the American Athletic Conference.
- UCF's record against Houston is now 25-30
Game Two | UCF (26-28, 15-14 AAC) – 2, Houston (19-30, 7-19 AAC) – 1
The UCF offense got going early in game two. Jordan Rathbone singled, then Josh Crouch walked. After a sac fly from Ben McCabe, Rathbone got to third base. Gephry Pena got an infield single that plated Rathbone to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
The offense gave starter Zack Hunsicker a lead, and he went to work. He sat down the first ten Houston batters before walking Tyler Bielamowicz to end the perfect game bid. He sat down the next two Cougars to get out of the inning.
Nick Vieira came in and sat down the first four batters he faced before giving up the first Houston hit of the game to Ian McMillan. Vieira then got out of the inning without giving up any more damage.
Then in the 7th, UCF got much need insurance when Pablo Ruiz singled home John Montes making the game 2-0.
McMillan got another hit in the next frame, this time scoring Houston's first run of the ball game, making it 2-1.
Zack Bennett trotted back out to the mound to pitch the 9th and closed the game out as UCF would hold on to win game two 2-1 and sweep the doubleheader.
Winning Pitcher: Zack Hunsicker (W, 2-3)
Losing Pitcher: Ben Sears (L, 2-4)
Top Pitcher: Zack Hunsicker (4 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 4 K)
Top Hitters: Pablo Ruiz (1-4, 1 RBI, 1 2B), Gephry Pena (1-3, 1 RBI)
- This is UCF's second doubleheader sweep of the season.
- UCF's record against Houston is now 26-30.
- Pablo Ruiz's RBI double brings his total to 28, which is tied for fifth on the team.
- Gephry Pena's first-inning RBI brings his total to 22.
The Knights will take on Houston again Friday at 6 pm, followed by the fourth and final game of the series Saturday at 4 pm.
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