SIENA - UCF WEEKEND SERIES
Dates: Friday – Sunday, February 17-19
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Site: John Euliano Park
Times: 6 p.m. (Fri.) | 4 P.M. (Sat.) | 1 P.M. (Sun.)
Live Video: ESPN+
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Friday: RHP Arlo Marynczak (SIE) vs. RHP Ruddy Gomez (UCF)
Saturday: RHP Ryan Bates (SIE) vs. RHP Cameron Leiter (UCF)
Sunday: LHP Sebastian Bentz (SIE) vs. RHP Dom Stagliano (UCF)
The UCF baseball team opens its season at home this weekend with a three-game series against Siena at John Euliano Park. Friday's first pitch is set for 6 p.m., while Saturday's game is slated for 4 p.m. and the series will wrap-up Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch.
The 2023 season marks the 50th season in UCF baseball program history. Darren Van Horn, son of UCF's first baseball head coach Doug Holmquist, will throw out the first pitch on Friday.
All three games will be broadcast live on ESPN+.
UCF in Season Openers
UCF owns a 34-16 record in season openers, headlined by a 5-1 mark under seventh-year head coach Greg Lovelady. For the second consecutive year and fourth time in the last five years, the Knights open the season against Siena.
Last year, the Knights earned a 12-0 victory against the Saints on Opening Knight thanks to 13 hits, including five extra-base hits. Three UCF pitchers combined to limit Siena to three hits in the opener and the trio struck out 12 batters.
UCF pitchers Ben Vespi and Kyle Kramer were named to the 14-member Preseason American Athletic All-Conference Team. Kramer was a breakout star out of the bullpen last season for the Knights. Transferring from Rollins College, he pitched in 23 games in 2022 and threw 39.0 innings, striking out 50 batters.
The St. Petersburg, Florida, native pitched to the tune of a 3.69 ERA, which is the fourth best amongst returners for the Knights.
Vespi was another star of the 2022 season, as his 3.56 ERA is the second best amongst returning pitchers for UCF. The righty did a little bit of everything last season. He made nine starts and made two saves. In 65.2 innings pitched, he had 66 strikeouts. His seven-inning, seven-strikeout performance against Tulane led UCF to a huge 2-1 win over Tulane.
In a poll of the American's eight head coaches, the Knights were picked to finish third in the conference's preseason poll behind favorite East Carolina and Houston, which earned one more point in the poll (39) than the Knights.
Marking the latest stop on a journey that has brought him from his hometown Orlando to Boston, Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta, former UCF and Major League left-handed pitcher Mike Maroth has returned to the Knights baseball program as an assistant coach.
An Orlando native, Maroth graduated from William R. Boone High School in 1995 before attending UCF the following season. During his time wearing the Black and Gold, Maroth posted a team-leading 1.89 ERA during the 1996 season, and in 1997, his 24 appearances were tied for the team-lead with George Schmidt while recording a team-leading three saves.
His contributions during his time with his hometown school caught the attention of the Boston Red Sox, and he was selected by Boston with the 84th overall pick in the third round of the 1998 MLB Draft. Maroth spent the 1998 season and part of 1999 in the minor leagues with the Red Sox before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1999.
The Knights began their 2022 season the same way, with a three-game face off against Siena and came out on top sweeping the Saints to go 3-0 on the weekend. UCF put up a strong defense against Siena only allowing two runs the entire weekend and held the Saints scoreless in two of the three games.
The Black and Gold added 18 new faces to the team this year, including nine true freshman and nine transfers. Saturday's starter freshman Cameron Leiter was named D1 Baseball's Preseason American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year
The Knights will return to John Euliano Park for a midweek game on February 21 to take on FAU at 6:00 p.m. The following weekend, Feb. 24-26, UCF will travel to South Carolina for their first away series against Clemson.
SIENA - UCF WEEKEND SERIES