UCF Splits Series With VCU After 8-3 Loss

Virginia Commonwealth used 15 hits to upend the UCF baseball team, 8-3, Monday afternoon. With the loss, the Knights split the four-game opening series with the Rams as the Black and Gold dropped to 2-2 on the year.

Although the game began at 1 p.m., the announced attendance was 843. That brought the four-game total to 5,582, marking the largest-attended series in UCF history.

UCF finished with six hits, highlighted by senior Colin Arnold's solo homer in the third inning. In the series with the Rams, the Knights pounded out 45 hits and scored 34 runs.

Two errors in the top of the first Monday enabled VCU to jump out to the early 1-0 lead off starter Jaager Good. However, a leadoff single from freshman Austin Smith in the bottom half erased the UCF deficit. Smith eventual stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and touched home on a two-out single from junior Chris Duffy.

VCU came right back with another run in the second on a Josh Alford RBI base hit. Once again, though, the Knights bounced back. After Ryan Crosby retired the first two hitters in the third, Arnold blasted the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for his second-career dinger.

With the game knotted at 2-2 and freshman Bryan Brown making his first appearance on the hill, R.J. Schenk placed a two-out, two-run single into left field to return the lead to VCU in the fourth. When the fifth rolled around classmate Anthony Figliolia also got a taste of D-I hitters, and he promptly struck out the first batter he faced, Joe Van Meter, on four pitches. But Justin Wright followed with a double and scored right away on a single from Carlos Rodriguez, bringing the VCU advantage to 5-2.

The bottom of the fifth proved to be trouble for Crosby, as he gave up a one-out double to senior Eric Kallstrom and walked senior Nick Choto. Crosby then got ahead of Smith, 0-2, before issuing another walk. Now with the bags juiced, Arnold connected for a sac fly to center to make it 5-3, but the righty picked up the final out to limit the damage. When the Rams returned to the plate for the sixth, they replied with yet another run for a 6-3 margin.

Senior Gil Gomez served as the third pitcher to make his UCF debut, entering in the eighth inning. VCU greeted him with a pair of runs, ultimately sealing the victory and the series split.

With the four-game series vs. VCU in the rear-view mirror, UCF will make its first road trip of the year this weekend. The Knights are set to battle the top team in the country when they travel to No. 1 LSU Friday-Sunday, which will be a reunion for Rooney and assistant coach Cliff Godwin as they spent the previous two seasons in Baton Rouge.

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