Knights Win Third Straight in Return to John Euliano Park

ORLANDO – Powered to an 11-7 victory by the offensive performances of Cole Russo, Lex Boedicker, and Drew Faurot, UCF earned its second victory of the season over Bethune-Cookman Tuesday at John Euliano Park. Adding to the season's historic home run record with a two-home run game, the UCF baseball team reached the 100-mark for the first time in a single season in program history.

"You believe in the person next to you," Russo said about the Knights' offense finding success throughout the lineup. "You have to believe in the guy in front of you and believe in the guy behind you. Take it at-bat by at-bat and pitch by pitch and believe in the pitchers and in the hitters. When we do that, we're a really dangerous team."

Securing their 30th win on the season, the Knights reached their sixth 30-win season in the Greg Lovelady era, barring only the shortened 2020 season. UCF improved to 30-23 on the year, while the Wildcats dropped to 27-24.

Four Knights had multi-hit games, including Russo and Boedicker's three hits apiece, joined by Faurot and Andrew Sundean. The four combined for nine RBI, 10 hits and 10 runs scored.

Russo belted the Knights' 99th home run to take the 2-1 lead in the second inning. He became the tenth Knight to hit multiple home runs in the historic season. With his two-run home run, a double that scored two in the fifth inning and a sacrifice fly in his next at bat, Russo tallied five of the Knights' 10 RBI for a career single-game high.

Faurot drove in three runs and scored three of his own, but his night was highlighted by hammering the Knights' 100th home run off the scoreboard with a solo shot in the eighth inning. With his 14th of the season, Faurot tied the record for home runs in a single season hit by a freshman, meeting the mark of Rylan Thomas from 2017.

"When you see other guys doing good and everybody's cheering for each other it makes everybody better around you," Faurot said when asked about how the Knights' culture impacts performance. "I'm definitely a different player than I was when I got here."

Ben Vespi went 5.0 innings and struck out a season-high six hitters, surrendering four hits and two runs and allowing the Knights to take a 7-2 lead through five innings. Vespi was credited with the win. Cameron Crain also threw a shutdown inning in the sixth, retiring the side in order and striking out two.

Scoring two more runs in the seventh inning as Tom Josten scored on a wild pitch and Boedicker drove Ben McCabe in on an RBI single to right field, the Black and Gold took a convincing 10-4 lead. Following Faurot's eighth-inning solo shot, Bethune-Cookman had a three-run ninth inning to answer, but the Knights held their lead to sweep the two-game season series against the Wildcats.

The Knights will wrap up the regular season at home this weekend with a three-game American Athletic Conference series against Wichita State May 18-20, with 6 p.m. games slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before the AAC Tournament the following week.