HOUSTON – UCF WEEKEND SERIES
Date: Friday – Sunday, April 28-30
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Site: John Euliano Park
Time: 6 p.m. (Fri.) | 6 p.m. (Sat.) | 12:30 p.m. (Sun.)
Watch - ESPN+: Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Listen: FM 96.9 The Game (Friday & Sunday)
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
The UCF baseball team (23-17, 5-7 AAC) is set to host the Houston Cougars (23-18, 8-4 AAC) in its first home game since April 18 at John Euliano Park.
Note that Sunday's game was shifted forward 30 minutes to accommodate for visiting team travel, first pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Sunday is also Bark in the Park, so Knights fans are encouraged to bring their dogs with them to the game.
The Cougars lead the Knights in a close all-time series, 32-31. UCF has taken eight of the last 10 games between the two teams, going 3-2 against Houston last year.
In their most recent meeting, the Knights and Cougars split a doubleheader in the semifinal round of the 2022 American Athletic Conference Tournament. UCF won the first game, 9-8, with a 10th inning walk off and the Cougars took the second game to eliminate UCF from the tournament with a final score of 9-6.
Scouting the Cougars
The Cougars' offense has a team batting average of .285, led by infielder Zach Arnold's .352 mark. Arnold is also tied for the team lead in hits (50), doubles (7) and home runs (8) with Anthony Tulimero. Houston is second in the conference with 77 stolen bases, led by sophomore infielder Brandon Burckel's 19 in 21 attempts.
Houston has a combined ERA of 6.07. Cade Citelli, who began the season as Friday starter and took on the role as Sunday starter in conference play, leads the team with a 5.01 ERA. He has posted a 3-4 record and struck out 42 hitters in his 41.1 innings of work. Josh Ekness has been getting the nod Sunday for the Cougars in conference play. Ekness has a ERA of 5.04 and has 46 strikeouts through 44.2 innings.
Defensively, Houston leads the AAC with a .981 fielding percentage. The Cougars are second in the nation with 42 double plays and fourth in double plays per game with 1.02.
Scouting the Knights
Through 40 games, UCF has a .286 batting average and has combined for 71 doubles, 70 home runs and 68 hit by pitch. Ben McCabe leads the Knights' offense with a .382 batting average, 58 hits, 12 home runs and 104 total bases. First baseman Nick Romano has reached based in the Knights' last 11 games, leading the team, and Andrew Brait and McCabe follow in suit, each with 10-game reached base streaks.
Andrew Sundean was named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll April 24, receiving his second Honor Roll nod and third conference recognition of the season, winning Player of the Week March 20. Hitting .444 on the week, with two home runs and six RBI, Sundean increased his season totals to 10 home runs and 36 RBI. He's second on the team in batting average with .362, improving on his Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America 2022 season.
The Knights' pitching staff has a 5.12 ERA, led by senior Ruddy Gomez's 4.21 ERA. He has a team-high 62.0 innings of work over 10 starts and has earned wins in both of his most recent starts for a 6-2 record. He's notched 66 strikeouts and allowed 29 earned runs.
Kyle Kramer leads the Knights' bullpen with a 1.73 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 19 appearances of relief. In 26.0 innings, Kramer has allowed only 14 hits and five earned runs, accumulating 39 strikeouts. His eight-save season ranks second in the AAC and ties for 11th in the nation. It also puts ties him for sixth most saves in a single season in UCF history.
UCF is set to host North Florida for their final of three meetings this season at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. Then, the Knights will go on an eight-game road trip to face Tulane, Ohio State, Wright State and Cincinnati.
HOUSTON – UCF WEEKEND SERIES