The No. 23 UCF Knights (9-3) took down No. 1 Florida (12-2) 9-7 in the first game of the series on Tuesday night. The Knights keep their eight-game win streak alive and move to 9-8 in Orlando against the Gators. Florida’s only other loss this season is to No. 24 Miami.
Florida scored a home run to open the game, then followed with two quick runs in the top of the third. The Knights came back in the bottom of the third, scoring six runs. They held the lead for the rest of the game.
Tyler Osik said the six-run inning was huge for the team.
“We pretty much just put a dent in their whole game,” Osik said. “It kind of gave them less life, and we were feeling it so we just had to keep going.”
All the runs scored by UCF were when the team had two outs.
“It shows that we have some guys that want to compete and don’t want to give up and don’t want to give away outs,” Knights coach Greg Lovelady said. “I don’t care what happens if you have an out or a strike just compete, compete.”
The Knights’ pitching was strong from JJ Montgomery, Cre Frinfrock and Garrett Westberg. Montgomery pitched five and one-thirds innings, followed by two and one-thirds from Frinfrock and one and one-third for Westberg.
“JJ made big pitches when he needed to,” Lovelady said. “He got some huge strikeouts, and I’m really proud of him.”
The Gators couldn’t match the Knights’ pitching, switching out pitchers four times during the loss and walking ten.
Osik led UCF’s offense, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Matthew Mika went 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs, while Jackson Webb went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
“I thought we did a great job competing,” Osik said. “The coaches did a good job throughout the week getting us ready, and we picked up runs in this game when we needed to.”
Lovelady said even though the team didn’t play at their best tonight, he is happy for the win.
“We did a lot of good things tonight, but I don’t think we played our best baseball.” Lovelady said. “It’s a good lesson for the guys to know that we don’t have to play our best to beat the best.”
The Knights will travel to Gainesville tomorrow to face the Gators once again. The first pitch will be thrown at 6 p.m.