After finishing the 2018 regular season with a doubleheader sweep of Tulane on Friday, UCF is set to travel to Clearwater for the AAC Tournament this week. The Knights, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, will open their run on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. against No. 4 seed East Carolina.
ECU took two out of three from UCF (35-19, 13-10 AAC) at John Euliano Park back in March, though the Knights had plenty of missed opportunities in that series. After taking the opener on Friday night, they held an early 3-0 lead on Saturday before allowing 11 unearned runs in a 12-4 loss. With the series on the line on Sunday, an early 4-1 lead turned into an 11-6 loss.
The winner of the opening game will meet either No. 1 Houston or No. 8 Tulane on Thursday while the loser plays an elimination game on Wednesday. The tournament final is on Sunday at noon.
Last year, the Knights earned the top seed in Clearwater. Two losses to ECU, with a 12-0 win over USF mixed in, ended their conference tourney run. At 40-20, though, they had done enough to earn an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. UCF ended up in the Tallahassee Regional, but two straight losses ended its season early.
Greg Lovelady’s team is currently sitting in solid position for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but a short run this week would weaken its résumé. D1Baseball.com’s most recent regional projections placed UCF in the Gainesville Regional with Florida (No. 1), Jacksonville (No. 2) and Hartford (No. 4). Baseball America’s projections have the Knights in Raleigh with North Carolina State (No. 1), Kentucky (No. 2) and Campbell (No. 4).