COURTESY OF UAA COMMUNICATIONS
Florida returns home for a three-game weekend series with Columbia, starting Friday night at 6:30 p.m. at McKethan Stadium.
UCF got on the board immediately with back-to-back hits to open the bottom of the first. Eli Putnam led off with a triple off the wall in right center field then score on an infield single from Luke Hamblin. A double from Kyle Marsh made it 2-0 after the opening frame.
The Knights added to their lead in the third on a two-run home run to left from Kyle Marsh, just over the outstretched glove of Austin Langworthy. Two batters later, Rylan Thomas made it 5-0 with a RBI double to left center.
Florida finally got on the board in the fifth after some assistance from the home team. Nick Horvath doubled to left field and advanced to third on a fly ball from Dalton Guthrie.
With Austin Langworthy at the plate, the umpire called a balk on UCF pitcher Joseph Sheridan and Horvath trotted home to get the Gators on the board.
UCF got the run back in the bottom of the inning after Ryan Crile hit a two-out solo homer to right center to push the lead to 6-1.
The Knights added three runs in the sixth on a bases-clearing double from Marsh, giving him six RBI on the night.
Florida got one run in the seventh courtesy of a couple pinch hitters. Freshman Keenan Bell ripped a double to right center and came in to score on Blake Reese’s RBI groundout to second.
UCF finished with another pair of runs in the eighth for the final 11-2 margin.
Florida starter Michael Byrne took the loss after surrendering five runs, three earned, in three innings. Tyler Dyson allowed one run in two innings out of the bullpen. Nick Long took the biggest hit on the mound, giving up five earned runs in two innings.
Freshman Cole Maye pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his collegiate debut.
Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan Quotes…
“It was just one of those nights. We just didn’t play well in any phase. Michael [Byrne] just gave up some hits there, I think the home run by Marsh was the big one that put them up four. We just didn’t do anything well tonight. We didn’t pitch, the crazy thing is I thought [Tyler] Dyson came in and threw the ball well, and Cole Maye there at the end. We tried some different things defensively, put Mike [Rivera] over there at first. It didn’t quite work out tonight. We’re trying to find right-handed options in practice, and it’s better to find out now than later.
“The more glaring issue we have right now, obviously we’ve got to get going offensively, but the body language tonight was terrible. It was not good. We did not make good decisions on defense. We struggled, we put our heads down, there was no communication on the field – which is not us.
“Quite frankly, it was probably one of the worst games that we’ve played since we’ve been here. I will say this, it’s the best thing that could have happened to us at this point. It gives us a chance to reevaluate some guys, maybe catch some guys attention. We’ve got a couple guys, it’s their draft year, and they’re not handling it very well right now. They will, but right now this is probably the best thing that could happen to us at this point so we can catch their attention and get ready to play this weekend.”