UCF Baseball drops first game of Auburn series, looks to bounce back on Saturday

Photo by Sarah Kelliher (@sarahkelliher4) for Knight Sports Now.

UCF Baseball dropped its first game of the year on Friday night, falling to No. 22 Auburn 4-1 at John Euliano Park.

But despite falling short for the first time in 2019, the Knights are optimistic about the final two games of their series with the Tigers.

“A Top 25, big time SEC program, you go toe-to-toe with them on Friday night. That’s not easy to do,” coach Greg Lovelady said. “I’m really proud of the guys. Obviously it’s not the result that we want but I thought that we did a lot of great things.”

The Knights came close to getting on the board several times, but just couldn’t make the most of their opportunities.

UCF put itself in prime position for an early score in the first inning with the bases loaded despite two outs. But Griffin Bernardo couldn’t take advantage, striking out and ending the inning.

The Knights found themselves in the exact same situation again as they trailed in the bottom of the eighth, but once again could not capitalize.

“We had the opportunity to score some runs and just couldn’t get the big hit,” Lovelady said. “…We did some really good things and we were right there.”

UCF’s only score of the night came off an RBI single by Bernardo in the sixth inning, with Matthew Mika scoring the run. The Knights had recorded just one hit through the first five innings.

But UCF is looking forward to getting back on the field tonight and coming away with a better result.

“We just gotta come out tomorrow, clean some things up and be able to take care of the baseball a little better,” Lovelady said. “Continue to pitch the way we’ve been pitching and again, just relax with runners in scoring position.”

The Knights will take on the Tigers tonight at 6 p.m., with the final game of the series set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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Christian Simmons is the founder and editor of Knight Sports Now. You can follow him on Twitter at @ByCASimmons.