Coming off of UCF win No. 1500 for the program from the night before, the Jaspers seemed determined from the mound to sour the Knights undefeated start to the 2017 season. UCF’s offense was kept quiet and the defense behind Manhattan’s pitcher seemed determined.
However, things quickly changed for the Jaspers when junior designated hitter Bryce Peterson stepped up to the plate and drove a ball to right field for a grand slam, putting the Knights up 4-0.
The Knights (6-0) used that monster drive to right field to keep momentum going Saturday night at the UCF Baseball Complex as they went on to take game two of the three-game series in 10-1 fashion.
“I definitely did not think it was going out,” Peterson said. “When I came here I had a really big problem hitting the ball the other way and I have been working with our hitting coach, coach Klosterman, and he has really been helping me drive the ball the other way, and obviously it paid off.”
This was Peterson’s first home run for the Knights and it was only the beginning of what would be a constant struggle for the Jaspers, as they had to change their man on the mound six different times.
“I thought we came out today with a little more energy, a little more focus,” UCF head coach Greg Lovelady said. “Our guys did a good job. We got on base, took our walks when we needed to. We hit the ball a lot harder tonight, so it was great to see that offensively.”
Just three batters following Peterson’s slam, it was senior right fielder Eli Putnam’s time to shine, as he hit a laser to centerfield for an RBI double that put the Knights up 5-0. Besides a solo home run from Manhattan junior right fielder Paul Genners in the third inning, the rest of the game was all about UCF.
“It’s just part of keeping it going, one week at a time, that’s what we feel is important” senior RHP Juan Pimentel said.
As the Knights prepare for the powerhouse Florida Gators this upcoming week, their confidence is right where it needs to be to be able to put on a good performance.
“One through nine, I think we are one of the best in the nation. Our four hitter could be our eight hitter and our eight hitter could be our four hitter,” Peterson said. “We got guys coming off the bench that are just as good as anyone in the lineup too, so I think we have a shot to be really good this year.”
The Knights will face off with the Jaspers one last time on Sunday at noon, for the third and final game of the series at the UCF Baseball Complex.
Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow her on Twitter at @SaraheKelliher and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.