AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
The No. 4 seed UCF baseball team will begin their postseason run against No. 5 Cincinnati in the opening game of the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship, presented by Visit St. Pete Clearwater, at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 23 at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Florida.
The tournament will be played in a double-elimination format through the semifinal round. The championship final is a winner-take-all matchup Sunday, May 28, which will determine The American's automatic entrant to the NCAA Championship.
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Clearwater, Fla.
Site: BayCare Ballpark
Watch on ESPN+
View Live Stats
More Information on theamerican.org
LAST TIME OUT
The Knights earned their third straight AAC series victory Saturday with a 6-5 win over Wichita State after walking off the first game of the series, 16-15, and falling to a late Shockers' rally in the second game, 12-7. The offense combined for 28 runs over three games, with eight Knights registering extra-base hits against one of the league's most potent pitching staffs. Four pitchers combined for a season-high 18 strikeouts behind Dom Stagliano's nine-strikeout Saturday out of the bullpen.
In the last meeting between the Knights and Bearcats, UCF took the series at Cincinnati with back-to-back wins to end its regular season road schedule. Four Knights had multi-home run games in the pair of UCF wins.
The most recent postseason matchup between the two teams was the 9 a.m. game one to open the tournament in 2021, which the Knights won, 14-10.
UCF IN THE TOURNAMENT
In the last two seasons, UCF is 6-4 in the tournament, with wins over five of the seven AAC opponents. All time, the Knights are 12-15 in the Conference Tournament with only 3 meetings against Cincinnati in the postseason since joining the American in 2014, two of which have been UCF victories.
SCOUTING THE KNIGHTS
UCF enters the AAC tournament with a 32-24 record and 12-12 in American Athletic Conference play. The Knights have won four of their last five games.
Four Knights received year-end honors from the American Athletic Conference as Ben McCabe and Andrew Sundean were selected to the All-Conference First Team and Cameron Leiter and Drew Faurot each received unanimous selections to the Freshman All-Conference Team, the league announced Monday.
As a team, UCF is hitting at the .287 mark, spearheaded by Ben McCabe's .363 batting average. McCabe leads the Knights' offense with 62 runs, 78 hits, 18 home runs, 146 total bases, .679 slugging percentage, .452 on base percentage and 19 hit by pitches, leading the team in each category. He finished his regular season in the top three in The American in 10 offensive categories, including leading the league in runs scored, hits, home runs, total bases and hit by pitches.
Knights' pitching staff has a combined 5.82 ERA. Najer Victor has been consistent out of the bullpen for UCF, with a 2.84 ERA in 31.2 innings, he has allowed 10 earned runs while striking out 47. Defensively, the Knights have a .968 fielding percentage.
Leiter found his footing in the back half of his freshman 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, he 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 saw 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.
The Knights two-home run game against Bethune-Cookman brought their season total to 100, marking the first time in program and conference history that mark has been achieved.
Faurot set the UCF freshman single-season home run record with his 15th homer of the year, etching a new name atop yet another record.
After a seven-home run weekend against Wichita State, the Knights have now set the AAC and UCF records at 107.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT