The UCF baseball team, scoreless through the first three innings, came back to beat Siena 7-2 on Sunday, sweeping the teams’ three-game series.
The Saints (0-3) got off to a strong start with a homerun in the second inning by sophomore infielder Brian Kelly before scoring again in the fourth inning. Going into the bottom of the fourth, the Knights trailed 2-0.
UCF (3-0) answered back when senior infielder Brennan Bozeman stole third and then ran home while senior infielder Kam Gellinger was at bat to make the score 2-1.
“We had a good amount of energy from the beginning of the game,” redshirt junior Jason Bahr said. “It eventually just started working for us.”
Gellinger made it to first and then continued to push the Knights’ offense forward when he stole second while freshman Rylan Thomas was at bat and then stole third when sophomore Matthew Mika was up to hit. By the end of the inning, the game was tied 2-2.
The Knights kept their momentum going in the fifth when senior center fielder Luke Hamblin hit a low ball right over first base for a triple and then senior outfielder Eli Putnam hit to left field to bring Hamblin home. The Knights took a 3-2 lead and continued to score runs in the fifth and sixth inning.
UCF got out to a strong start in the sixth inning and ended it with a homerun by Putnam with 3 RBI’s to extend the lead 7-2.
“The offense was already going at that point, I just kept the momentum going,” Putnam said. “You just kind of feed off of it from past innings and try to put great at bats together.”
The Saints couldn’t get past third base after the fourth inning, in part thanks to great performances by UCF’s pitchers.
With his first start, redshirt junior right handed pitcher Jason Bahr struck out five and only allowed five hits throughout his four innings on the mound. He allowed one homerun but he brushed that off instantly.
“The first couple of innings I had the jitters,” Bahr said. “I let some balls up where I didn’t want them, but other than that I settled down and it went pretty well.”
Freshman left handed pitcher Joseph Sheridan pitched for two innings, struck out one, and allowed two hits. Other pitchers that made it to the mound were Rylan Thomas, Drew Faintich, and Thaddeus Ward. Collectively they had 4 strikeouts and allowed zero hits.
“The whole weekend, the bullpen did phenomenal,” coach Greg Lovelady said. “Joseph Sheridan came in and did exactly what he was scripted to do which was pitch two innings. I’m very pleased with the pitching staff and when you have that kind of pitching, you’re going to have the chance to win every game.”
The team is optimistic about the future and is rallying behind Lovelady and trusting his process. They hope to have a very successful season.
“At the end of the day we want to win the last three not the first three but it’s great to see the guys play well,” Lovelady said. “This is a great starting point for us but the guys know we have to continue to get better over the course of the year.”
Taya Britten is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow her on Twitter at @tayabritten.