ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 27 UCF baseball team defeated Stetson 5-3 at the UCF Baseball Complex Wednesday. It was the first time the two clubs had met since 2012, when the Knights bested the Hatters 5-4 in 13 innings in Deland, Fla.
Wednesday was a staff day on the mound for the Knights, as Thad Ward started the first two innings and ultimately got the win. UCF saw seven different pitchers come to the mound, combining for nine strikeouts.
Right-hander Jason Bahr sent away three Stetson hitters in his only inning of work. He leads the Knights with 44 strikeouts on the season. Trent Thompson and Bryce Tucker also worked just one inning and notched two strikeouts each.
Offensively, the Black and Gold got on the board in the second inning, when second baseman Matthew Mika singled to right-center with one out. Catcher Logan Heiser then stepped up and laced a ball over the left field fence on a 2-1 count. The two-run shot was his third of the season.
The Knights expanded the lead in the third, after center fielder Luke Hamblin led off with a double, then scored on a one-out double by right fielder Eli Putnam. Left fielder Kyle Marsh followed with a well-place bunt-single to the third base side. The Hatters infielder, trying to make a bare-handed play, threw the ball over first base which allowed Putnam to score.
Now leading 4-0, UCF added one more run in the seventh. Hamblin singled up the middle with one out before Putnam delivered his second double of the game. He hit the ball on a rope to the fence in left field that caromed off the wall just before the left fielder could glove it. Hamblin came all the way around from third to score the Knights fifth run.
Stetson got on the board in the eighth with a solo home run to left field. Up to that point, UCF relievers had thrown 25.2 scoreless innings, dating back to March 25 against Dartmouth. The Hatters tacked on two more in the ninth, after a two-out single followed by another home run cut the lead to two. After the next hitter walked, the tying run came to the plate but grounded out to short stop to end the game.
Next up the Knights head to Tampa for a three-game series with rival USF. The War on I4 rivalry will be broadcast on iHeart Radio and FM 96.9 The Game, with the voice of the Knights, Marc Daniels on the call. Fans can also click here to follow along via live stats.