COURTESY OF UAA COMMUNICATIONS
The Gators had seven pitching changes, using six different pitchers, and totaled four runs on just four hits. Junior Nick Horvath took the mound twice in big moments and did the job both times, including getting the final out for his second career save.
In the opening frame, the Knights had the bases loaded but the momentum stopped with a strikeout from freshman starter Nate Brown, who escaped the inning scoreless.
Brown, making his first collegiate start, picked up the win with three scoreless innings after exiting on a pitch count.
In the third inning, Kolozsvary drew a leadoff walk and sophomore Blake Reese followed with a double that gave Florida a 1-0 lead. Reese came around to score after Jonathan India reached on an error by the UCF shortstop.
After a scoreless third inning by Brown, freshman Keenan Bell and Kolozsvary led off the bottom of the third with back-to-back walks. Reese came through again with a RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
The Knights scored a run in both the sixth and seventh innings to cut into the lead. In the seventh, the Knights loaded the bases with zero outs but were only able to bring in one run as Horvath entered and induced a pair of groundouts to escape the jam.
Kolozsvary’s home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh, which proved to be the winning run, made it 4-2.
In the eighth, Frank Rubio relieved Horvath, sending him to center field, and worked a scoreless frame. In the bottom of the inning, Florida loaded the bases with no outs but failed to score after three-straight popups ended the threat.
In the ninth, Rubio allowed a leadoff walk before recording two outs. A single by Ryan Crile cut the Gators lead to one and another single by Rylan Thomas set UCF up with runners on first and second and two outs.
With the Knights threatening, head coach Kevin O’Sullivan opted for another pitching change – recalling Horvath from center field. Horvath took the mound and finished off the win with a strikeout.
The Gators and Knights will meet again on Wednesday night in Orlando. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan Quotes...
“We obviously need to throw more strikes. We were fortunate tonight, to be honest with you. I think they left 13 guys stranded. I think we had four leadoff walks to start innings, but the young guys made pitches when they needed to. That’s the most important thing. The first four pitchers were all freshman, two of them had not seen the mound yet, so that was encouraging. We made a couple defensive mistakes there that could have hurt us. I thought getting out of that first inning was really big for Nate.
“Blake Reese had a nice night offensively, he had a couple RBI and a couple hits. We hit the ball hard at times, but I think the most disappointing part was when we had the bases loaded with nobody out – we’ve just got to do a better job.
“The most important thing is we’re finding ways to win and we haven’t really gotten going offensively yet. Once we get going offensively, and we all know we are at some point, with our pitching, we’ll probably be pretty tough to beat.”