NORTH FLORIDA – UCF MIDWEEK GAME
Date: Tuesday, May 2
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Site: John Euliano Park
Time: 6 p.m.
Listen: FM 96.9 The Game
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
The UCF baseball team (24-19, 6-9 AAC) is set to host the North Florida Ospreys (22-22, 8-13 ASUN) April 2 for their third and final meeting of the season. With a victory at home and falling short on the road, UCF looks to take the season series with a win Tuesday.
Last Time Out
As Houston rallied to score six runs late in the contest Sunday, the Knights fell in the final game of the American Athletic Conference weekend series, 12-9. In the outing, six knights tallied multiple hits and two home runs featured Ben McCabe's all-time record-breaking shot.
UCF leads the Ospreys in the all-time series 18-16. The teams have met twice this season, splitting the series 1-1. UCF owns three of the previous five matchups. The Knights have hosted 18 of the contests between the two teams and the Knights and Ospreys are tied 9-9 at John Euliano Park.
Most recently, the Knights traveled to Jacksonville, Fla. for the second matchup of 2023. In a pitcher's duel, UCF entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead, but catcher Jakob Runnels barreled a three-run home run to walk it off for the Ospreys and even up the series.
Ben Vespi will get the nod from the Knights. In seven appearances and five starts, Vespi has a 1-2 record with an 11.20 ERA. His 13.2 innings of work are accompanied by 20 strikeouts.
UNF is set to start redshirt sophomore right-hander Avery Love, who owns a 9.09 ERA over 12 appearances, seven of them starts. In 33.2 innings, Love has 25 strikeouts and has allowed 34 earned runs and 11 home runs.
Scouting the Ospreys
The Ospreys are hitting at the .290 mark, with a slight edge over the Knights' average. Five Ospreys have an average above .304, led by Austin Brinling's average of .381. He also leads the team in runs (47), hits (59), doubles (13), hit by pitch (8) and on base percentage (.492), and he is second on the team with 27 drawn walks.
UNF's pitchers have combined for a 6.71 ERA, with redshirt junior Peter Holden's leading 4.57 ERA among qualified pitchers. Lance Bolton leads the team in appearances with 21 out of the bullpen, earning 3 saves and combining for a shutout in his 32.2 innings, with 40 strikeouts. UNF has a .962 fielding percentage.
Scouting the Knights
As a team, UCF owns a .287 batting average, led by Ben McCabe's .376 average and Andrew Sundean's .364 average. McCabe spearheads the Knights' offense with 47 runs, 62 hits, 14 home runs, 114 total bases, .691 slugging percentage, 14 hit by pitch and .458 on base percentage, leading the team in each category. Sundean leads the team with 39 RBI and has the fewest strikeouts among Knights with over 60 at bats with only 21 strikeouts in 140 at bats.
Knights' pitching staff has a combined 5.47 ERA. Ruddy Gomez, UCF's Friday starter, leads the charge on the mound with a 4.97 ERA and 68 strikeouts through 63.1 innings of work. Defensively, the Knights have a .965 fielding percentage.
McCabe's success on the field in his final season as a Knight has allowed him to climb the leaderboards of many offensive categories. On Friday night's contest against Houston, McCabe hit his 43rd career home run to tie Chris Duffy and Bobby Kiser's record for career home runs in UCF program history.
Officially etching his name into the history books on Sunday, McCabe belted a towering home run to center field in the first inning for career home run No. 44. In achieving this milestone which had never been accomplished by a Knight, McCabe also tied for tenth on the single-season home runs list with 14 total, meeting his own career single-season record from 2022.
The Knights go on an eight-game road trip to Tulane, Ohio State, Wright State and Cincinnati which will begin in New Orleans with an AAC weekend series this Friday-Sunday, May 5-7. Then, UCF travels to Ohio for back-to-back midweek matchups against Ohio State Tuesday, May 9 and Wright State Wednesday, May 10 before heading to Cincinnati to wrap up the Knights' away schedule in the AAC.
NORTH FLORIDA – UCF MIDWEEK GAME