WICHITA STATE – UCF WEEKEND SERIES
Date: Thursday-Saturday, May 18-20
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Site: John Euliano Park
Time: 6 p.m. (Thurs.) | 6 p.m. (Fri.) | 6 p.m. (Sat.)
Watch - ESPN+: Thursday | Friday | Saturday
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
The UCF baseball team is set to conclude their regular season at home with a three-game American Athletic Conference series against Wichita State May 18-20 with 6 p.m. games Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
LAST TIME OUT
The Knights earned their third straight victory with an 11-7 win over Bethune-Cookman Tuesday at John Euliano Park to begin the final homestand. Hammering two home runs, from Cole Russo and Drew Faurot, the Knights achieved the century mark, reaching the 100 home run milestone for the first time in program history.
Last year in the regular season, UCF swept the Shockers in the weekend series on the road, outscoring them 32-19 across three games. The two teams most recently met in the AAC Tournament where UCF eliminated Wichita State with a 12-4 win to advance to the quarterfinals.
UCF is 6-4 in its last 10 games, and 8-6 all-time against the Shockers in a series that stretches back only to 2018 when the Shockers' joined the AAC.
SCOUTING THE SHOCKERS
The Shockers offense has a combined .300 batting average, leading the league, with six of their hitters at or above that mark. Junior Brock Rodden leads the way at the plate for WSU, leading in nearly every offensive category including runs (53), extra-base hits (33), home runs (15), RBI (60) and walks drawn (33).
On the mound, Wichita State's trio of weekend starters in Grant Adler, Payton Tolle and Clark Candiotti have combined to earn 19 of the team's 29 wins, including a complete game shutout by both Adler and Tolle. Sophomore two-way Tolle, who is set to get the start in Friday's contest, is the reigning AAC Pitcher of the Week. He had previously been named Player of the Week twice and has been selected to the weekly honor roll twice. With a 9-2 record, Tolle has been the pitcher of record in 11 of his 13 starts.
ABOUT THE KNIGHTS
The Knights enter the final weekend of regular season play with a 30-23 record, 10-11 in American Athletic Conference play. Coming off a win Tuesday, the Knights are on a three-game winning streak they look to extend into the weekend.
As a team, UCF is hitting at the .287 mark, spearheaded by Ben McCabe's .360 batting average. McCabe spearheads the Knights' offense, posting 58 runs, 73 hits, 18 home runs, 139 total bases, .685 slugging percentage, .447 on base percentage and 18 hit by pitch, leading the team in each category.
Knights' pitching staff has a 5.69 ERA as a team. Najer Victor has been lethal out of the bullpen for the Knights, with a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings, he has allowed seven earned runs while striking out 44. Defensively, the Knights have a .969 fielding percentage.
Freshman Cameron Leiter found his footing in the balk-half of the season, with back-to-back 11-strikeout games and allowing only two hits and two earned runs in each of his last two 5.0+ inning outings. At Cincinnati, Leiter threw four perfect frames, retiring 12 Bearcats in order, the first six with strikeouts.
Head coach Greg Lovelady has led the Knights' squad to their sixth 30-win season in his time at UCF, barring only the shortened 2020 season in which the Knights had a 15-3 record.
The month of May has seen some historic milestones for the UCF baseball team. In the May 2 victory over North Florida, the Knights belted eight home runs to break both the program's single-season record, previously 78, and the single-game record of seven. In the game, Lex Boedicker's three home runs also tied the individual single-game record.
The following week, Nick Romano added the Knights' 90th home run of the season with a ninth-inning two-out bomb against Wright State to break the American Athletic Conference single-season home run record, previously set at 89 by Tulane in 2019.
After a two-home run game against Bethune-Cookman Tuesday, the Knights have now set the AAC and UCF records at 100.
The Knights will travel to Clearwater, Fla. for the American Athletic Conference Tournament May 23-28 at BayCare Ballpark.
WICHITA STATE – UCF WEEKEND SERIES