Trailing 2-0 after the top of the fourth, junior catcher Logan Heiser walked up the plate after being beamed in the head in his first at-bat. On the first pitch, he turned his hip towards left field and bombed a ball to deep left for a game-tying, two run shot. But the momentum of his stadium-awakening shot didn’t keep the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles quiet for as long as he would’ve hoped.
In the following inning, UCF (11-2) starter, redshirt sophomore Chris Williams managed to record two quick outs as he’d done throughout the whole game. But after allowing five consecutive Seminoles to reach base with a RBI single mixed in, a two-out, bases-loaded, full-count slow roller up the middle eliminated any chance the Knights had left as FSU (10-2) led 5-2 exiting the fifth.
And after not making the NCAA’s Top-25 rankings following their sweep of Stony Brook and 2-game split with No. 2 Florida, the Knights were presented with another chance to build their resume. Only this time, an opponents’ streaky offense wouldn’t be an advantage. FSU brought fast pitching, defensive play-makers and a solid offense to the UCF Baseball Complex on Tuesday night to halt UCF’s strong play.
“We gotta be a lot better,” coach Greg Lovelady said. “We played absolutely horrible in all three facets of the game… we’re lucky the score was only 5-2.”
Following a constant trend for Knights pitchers this year, Williams failed to record a scoreless first. Despite allowing only one hit, a couple of errors off a routine ground ball to short and a throwing error by sophomore third baseman Matthew Mika resulted in a 1-0 FSU lead.
“When you’re leaving the ball up, they’re gonna punish you and hit the ball around,” Williams said. “Just gotta work on getting the ball down in the zone and hitting spots.”
The Seminoles kept the Knights off the board for the rest of the game, allowing UCF to only put up two total hits in the loss while being struck out 12 times. FSU recorded nine hits, while retiring 16 of UCF’s last 17 batters on defense. The Knights saw action from sophomore Thaddeus Ward and senior Trent Thompson on the mound.
UCF will try and bounce back tomorrow at 4 p.m. at home before starting a three-game series with Central Michigan on March 10.
Evan Abramson is the sports editor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow him on Twitter at @Evan_Abramson and you can email him at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.