Game Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. – After falling in a series-tying game on Saturday to the University of Houston, the University of Central Florida battled back to win the series on Sunday. The Knights (22-7, 2-1 in American Athletic Conference) defeated the Cougars (20-7, 1-2 in AAC) 6-1 in front of 1,027 people at Jay Bergman Field.

Joseph Sheridan (5-2) got the win and the start on the mound, going 5.0 innings with six strikeouts, allowing four hits, an earned run and a walk. For Houston, starter John King (4-1) got his first loss of the season, allowing nine hits, four runs (two earned) and a walk in 5.2 innings. King also struck out three.

“[Sheridan’s] been pitching good all year,” first baseman Rylan Thomas said after the game. “Had a big win against Florida early on in the season. Just been a consistent guy for us on Sundays and just doing his job.”

Houston tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth after going scoreless for the first four innings. But UCF would retake the lead in its half of the fifth, beginning with Thomas.

Thomas drove in the first run of the fifth with a double to right field after consecutive base hits by third baseman Brooks Morgan and shortstop Kam Gellinger placed runners on the corners with no outs. Then, Eli Putnam reached first on a fielder’s choice and drove in the second run of the inning when Cougars third baseman Jared Triolo committed a throwing error on his folly throw to home. Kyle Marsh’s groundout to second allowed Thomas to score the third and final run of the fifth for UCF.

University of Central Florida outfielder Eli Putnam prepares to swing at a ball during a 6-1 win over the University of Houston at Jay Bergman Field on Sunday, April 2, 2017. (Photo by Andrea Mujica / New Day Review)

“We just got guys on base, and, in big situations, we were able to get the hits,” first-year UCF head coach Greg Lovelady said after the game. “We really got pitches that we could do some damage with, and, again, some of our issues offensively have been swinging out of good counts. You know, 0-0 balls that are not strikes…and putting ourselves down in the count, and we didn’t do that.

“We got elevated pitches to hit, whether they were in our count or their count. And when you do that against a really good pitching staff, you’ve got to be able…to do damage on those [pitches].”

After Houston scored its lone run in the fifth, Sheridan and UCF’s bullpen shut down the Cougars the rest of the way. Lovelady threw in relievers Thaddeus Ward, Jason Bahr and Bryce Tucker. Combined, they allowed three hits, no runs, a walk and struck out four.

University of Central Florida pitcher Joe Sheridan pitches the ball during a 6-1 win over the University of Houston at Jay Bergman Field on Sunday, April 2, 2017. (Photo by Andrea Mujica / New Day Review)

“First conference series. Didn’t matter who it was. It was gonna be a big series for us,” Sheridan said after the game. “Just try and come out and make a statement as a team, especially against Houston. It was big for us.”

UCF scored its first run in the third off a Putnam sacrifice fly to right field that drove in Gellinger. In the seventh, the Knights tacked on two more off a Marsh double and a Bryce Peterson flyout to right.

“Just a great win. A great weekend. One of the odds-on favorites for the league,” Lovelady said. “To come in and—obviously a team that’s had a lot of success last few years and this year and ranked and stuff. And for our guys to play we did, I’m really proud.”

Player of the Game: Rylan Thomas

Thomas finished the game 3-for-4 with a run, an RBI, a walk and a double. The freshman knocked in the Knights’ go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth that helped UCF to its first series win in conference play.

What’s next?

The Knights will host Stetson University on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Highlights

NDR Notes

  • Matthew Mika’s 13-game hitting streak ended in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Houston. In that game, he went 0-for-3. Putnam has the second-longest hitting streak with 11 games.
  • Sheridan pitched four scoreless innings before giving up Houston’s lone run in the fifth.

Scoring

University of Central Florida University of Houston
Runs 6 1
Hits 13 7
Errors 0 2
Left on Base 8 7
Inning Team Play Score
B1 University of Central Florida Eli Putnam flew out to right field, sacrifice fly, RBI; Rylan Thomas advanced to third; Kam Gellinger scored 1-0, UCF
T5 University of Houston Connor Hollis reached first on fielder’s choice, RBI; Corey Julks advanced to third; Lael Lockhart scored 1-1, T
B5 University of Central Florida Rylan Thomas doubled to right field, ground-rule double, RBI; Kam Gellinger advanced to third; Brooks Morgan scored 2-1, UCF
B5 University of Central Florida Eli Putnam reached on fielder’s choice, advanced to second on error by third baseman, RBI; Rylan Thomas advanced to third; Kam Gellinger scored on error by third baseman, unearned 3-1, UCF
B5 University of Central Florida Kyle Marsh grounded out to second baseman, RBI; Eli Putnam advanced to third; Rylan Thomas scored, unearned 4-1, UCF
B7 University of Central Florida Kyle Marsh doubled to right-center field, RBI; Eli Putnam advanced to third; Luke Hamblin scored 5-1, UCF
B7 University of Central Florida Bryce Peterson flew out to right field; Matthew Mika out at second; Kyle Marsh advanced to third; Eli Putnam scored 6-1, UCF

Statistics and Starting Lineups

Pitching

Player Team IP R ER H BB SO
Joe Sheridan (5-2) University of Central Florida 5.0 1 1 4 1 6
Thaddeus Ward University of Central Florida 1.0 0 0 0 1 2
John King (4-1) University of Houston 5.2 4 2 9 1 3
Nolan Bond University of Houston 1.0 0 0 1 0 2

Hitting

Player Team AB H R HR RBI SB BB SO
Rylan Thomas University of Central Florida 4 3 1 0 1 0 1 0
Kyle Marsh University of Central Florida 4 1 0 0 2 0 0 0
Eli Putnam University of Central Floirda 3 1 1 0 2 0 0 0
Corey Julks University of Houston 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 0
Connor Hollis University of Houston 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

UCF starting lineup: 1. Rylan Thomas (3) 2. Luke Hamblin (8) 3. Eli Putnam (9) 4. Kyle Marsh (7) 5. Matthew Mika (4) 6. Bryce Peterson (DH) 7. George Anthony (2) 8. Brooks Morgan (5) 9. Kam Gellinger (6)

UCF starting pitcher: Joseph Sheridan (4-2, 3.38 ERA)

Houston starting lineup: 1. Connor Wong (2) 2. Grayson Padgett (8) 3. Joe Davis (DH) 4. Jake Scheiner (6) 5. Jared Triolo (5) 6. Lael Lockhart (9) 7. Corey Julks (7) 8. Jordan Monacy (3) 9. Connor Hollis (4)

Houston starting pitcher: John King (4-0, 2.08 ERA)

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