After slugging its way to a season-opening win on Friday night, UCF used a lights-out pitching performance on Saturday afternoon to beat Siena 3-0, clinching a second victory in the three-game series.
“We came out today and played well,” Knights head coach Greg Lovelady said. “[We] pitched really, really well. I told the guys, great teams find different ways to win. Some days you’ve got to out-slug teams, some days you’ve got to out-pitch teams and some days you’ve got to do something else.”
UCF (2-0, 0-0 AAC) held Siena (0-2, 0-0 MAAC) to just three hits. No Saints made it past second base.
The shutout pitching performance came courtesy of five different pitchers, starting with senior Juan Pimentel. The right-hander pitched one out into the sixth inning, giving up no runs on two hits and one walk while striking out four. He only allowed one batter to reach second base.
“Honestly, my stuff was really, really bad,” Pimentel said. “You can’t see because of the outcome of the game, but my fastball wasn’t there, the breaking ball wasn’t there. I was just able to manage and get out of situations.”
Despite his “best stuff” not being there, Pimentel was still able to pick up his first victory of the season. He was followed on the mound by freshman Joseph Sheridan (1/3 inning pitched), redshirt sophomore Chris Williams (1 1/3 innings pitched, two strikeouts), redshirt junior Jordan Scheftz (one inning, two strikeouts) and sophomore Bryce Tucker (one inning, three strikeouts). In striking out the side in the ninth, Tucker picked up his first save of the season.
“We were lacking that last year, not knowing who was going to come in what situation,” Pimentel said. “Now, when it’s the seventh, eighth and ninth, we know what we’re getting.”
While the Knights didn’t quite put on the same power display as they did on Friday, they did pick up timely hits in some key situations.
They got the scoring started with two outs in the first inning. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Marsh, who missed last season with an injury, tripled to center field before scoring on a single by senior Brennan Bozeman. Marsh later drove in UCF’s third run of the game in the bottom of the eighth, doubling in senior Eli Putnam.
“Coming out here and being able to play and help my team out, it was awesome,” Marsh said. “I think it’s really helping me, what I did last year with the mental game, just sitting there watching every rep.”
Marsh had two of the team’s six hits. Sophomore Matthew Mika also picked up two hits, both singles, in addition to his two stolen bases. He scored the game’s second run on a Putnam groundout in the fifth inning.
The Knights will look for a series sweep of the Saints on Sunday at 1 p.m. Redshirt junior Jason Bahr is expected to get the start for UCF.