Following a short stretch of struggles, UCF has rattled off four straight victories. This time, no comeback was necessary as four different pitchers teamed up to dominate the Bethune-Cookman lineup en route to a 5-1 victory on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been doing it all year,” Knights coach Greg Lovelady said. “It’s just about competing and winning pitches. The guys did a good job of that.”
Sophomore RHP Chris Williams (2-3) got the start on the mound for the Knights (27-11, 5-4 AAC), working an efficient five innings. He threw 55 pitches on the night, allowing just one run on one hit while striking out two. The one mistake came in the second inning, when he allowed a home run to left with two strikes on the batter.
Following the home run, UCF pitchers combined to retire 23 of the final 24 batters they faced.
“I was just going out and attacking with fastball command,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with that a little bit. This start, I wanted to go out there and get ahead and attack early on.”
The Knights’ offense got going in the second and fourth innings, led by junior Bryce Peterson. After senior Kyle Marsh tripled in the tying run in the second, Peterson singled him in to give UCF its first lead of the night. Two innings later, he doubled in a run, then scored on a single by senior Brennan Bozeman. Sophomore Anthony George added to the lead with a single later in the fourth.
UCF, which entered the night with the third-best ERA in the nation, got strong outings out of three relievers after Williams left the game. Junior RHP Jason Bahr retired all six batters he faced, junior RHP Jordan Scheftz tossed a 1-2-3 eighth and sophomore LHP Bryce Tucker shut things down in the ninth.
“We all have trust in all of our guys that we’re going to go out there and get the job done,” Williams said. “So, whoever comes on behind you, they’re going to get the job done and put us in a good situation to win the game.”
The Knights came into the night at 23rd in the NCAA RPI rankings, while Bethune-Cookman (22-18, 9-6 MEAC) sat 55th. UCF will look to build on last weekend’s sweep of East Carolina and the current four-game winning streak this weekend when it hosts UConn (21-14, 6-3).
“They’re obviously a really good team,” Lovelady said. “You talk about northeast kids, I mean, they’re going to be tough.”
The weekend series will get underway on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Bailey Adams is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaileyJAdams22 and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.