The win was a special one for Stertzbach as he defeated his former high school teammate and best friend Danny Core in a battle of two of the top arms in the A-Sun. The victory is also the first for UCF vs. a ranked team since the Golden Knights' 7-5 victory over then-No. 19 FAU last season.
For the second straight game, UCF had a tremendous outing from its starting pitcher. In each of the last two victories, UCF's starting pitchers have combined for 19 strikeouts.
Stertzbach set the tone early by holding the Blue Wave to just one run on five hits through the first six innings with seven strikeouts.
After FAU managed to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI-single by Rusty Brown, the Golden Knights took the lead for good with a four-run outburst in the fourth off Core.
Core sailed through the first three innings, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts. The fourth inning was a different story as Rich Wallace got the rally started for UCF with a key two-out RBI-single on an 0-2 count to tie the game at one. Drew Butera, UCF's hottest hitter over the last 19 games, followed Wallace with a two-run double down the left field line to give UCF a 3-1 lead. Ryan Bono delivered the final blow with a RBI-double to center field on a ball that FAU center fielder Jeff Fiorentino lost in the lights.
The Blue Wave cut the deficit to 4-3 in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Shaen O'Connor and a RBI-single off the bat of Rob Horst.
The Golden Knights responded with another four-run inning in the home half of the seventh to knockout Core. David Mann started the big inning with a RBI-single while Dee Brown drilled a two-run double to left field, extending the UCF lead to 7-3. The hit also extended Brown's hitting streak to 12 games. Brown later scampered home from third on a wild pitch to close out the scoring at 8-3.
Core (6-2), the A-Sun's top pitcher statistically, entered the game with a 6-1 record and 1.44 ERA. He left the contest with a career-worst eight earned runs allowed on 10 hits. The 10 hits were also the most Core has ever yielded in a game.
The 17th largest crowd in Jay Bergman Field history, 939 fans, enjoyed the contest Friday.
The Golden Knights, winners of four of the last five vs. FAU, look for the series win Saturday at 1 p.m. The two teams will play two, seven-inning games Saturday.
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