After No. 23 UCF picked up a 9-7 win over No. 1 Florida in Orlando on Tuesday, the two teams shifted the series to Gainesville on Wednesday night.
A change in venue didn’t change the result, as the Knights came away with a 4-2 victory to complete a two-game sweep of the Gators and extend their winning streak to nine games.
UCF (10-3, 0-0 AAC) found the scoreboard early on Wednesday. Ray Alejo led the game off with a double before Rylan Thomas delivered a two-out, two-run home run to give the Knights a 2-0 lead before the Gators even came to the plate.
Joe Sheridan got the start on the mound for UCF and tossed five innings of one-run ball. He gave up just two hits, but five walks ended his night early. Four of those came in his final inning and pushed the Gators’ first run across.
The Knights had a quick answer for that run, though, as Matthew Mika connected for a solo home run in the sixth to extend the lead back to two. Chandler Robertson tacked on a fourth run for UCF in the seventh on a pinch-hit single.
In relief of Sheridan, UCF got a strong effort from Eric Hepple, who retired all six hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings. Jeffrey Hakanson ran into some trouble in the eighth before Bryce Tucker was called on for a four-out save.
Tucker struggled with his command, allowing an inherited runner to score in the eighth. He then walked the leadoff man in the ninth before getting a big double play to bring Florida down to its final out. But after falling behind the next hitter 1-0, he was relieved by Garrett Westberg. Westberg allowed a double, but got the next guy to pick up his second save in two nights.
The Gators (12-3, 0-0 SEC), who boasted a .304 team batting average heading into Wednesday, finished the night with just four hits.
UCF earned its first-ever win over a top-ranked team on Tuesday night, but quickly added its second only one day later. Wednesday’s win was the Knights’ third straight over the Gators dating back to last year. With a strong weekend, the team could make a big jump in the polls.
The Knights return home this weekend for three games against Siena. The series opens with a doubleheader on Saturday, with the first game set for 2:00 p.m.