Baseball Secures War On I-4 Series Win in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. – Highlighted by 12 hits and two home runs, the UCF baseball team (23-17, 5-7 AAC) earned an 11-1 mercy-rule victory in eight innings against rival South Florida (17-24, 6-6 AAC) Sunday afternoon at USF Baseball Stadium to take the series.

The Knights showed out at the plate and on the field, with the offense scoring double-digit runs for the 11th time this season and Cameron Leiter, Najer Victor and Jacob Marlowe combining to allow only one run on three hits over their eight innings. Leiter returned to the weekend rotation, earning the start in Sunday's game and he threw four innings of two-hit ball, notching five strikeouts.

Drew Faurot, who went 4-4 on the day with four RBI, three runs and a home run, got the Knights first hit on a single up the middle. A perfectly-executed hit-and-run put Faurot on third base after a single through the left side from Lex Boedicker. John Rhys Plumlee reached on a fielder's choice and Faurot scored the first run of the contest.

Nick Romano singled to lead off the fourth, before back-to-back bunt singles from Andrew Brait and Faurot loaded the bases for the Knights. Romano scored from third base on a wild pitch. Plumlee tallied his second and third RBI of the day, scoring Brait and Faurot on a single through the left side to give UCF the 4-1 lead.

Victor entered the game in the bottom of the fifth with two on and nobody out. For the second time in the series, Victor retired six Bulls in order. In his last four innings of work, Victor has struck out 10 batters and allowed just two hits.

The Knights broke the game open in the top of the seventh as Ben McCabe was hit by a pitch, Andrew Sundean drew a four-pitch walk, and Romano was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brait moved the runners and kept the bases loaded with an RBI single through the left side. Faurot took a 1-1 pitch deep down the right line for his fourth hit of the day and the third grand slam of his freshman campaign. He became the first Knight to hit three grand slams in a single season since Austin Griffin accomplished the feat in 2016.

In the top of the eighth inning, Sundean ripped the second pitch he saw over the left field wall for a two-run homer. Sundean's 10th home run of the season doubled the total from his Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America first season with the Knights.

The UCF baseball team returns home with the War on I-4 weekend series win, splitting the season series 3-3 with the Bulls.

Up Next
The Knights will host the Houston Cougars next weekend, April 28-30, to continue American Athletic Conference play. The following week on May 2, UCF will host its third meeting against North Florida before heading on a 12-day road trip to Tulane, Ohio State, Wright State and Cincinnati.