Photo Courtesy: UCF Athletics
By: Leo Rodriguez
UCF Baseball loses its first series this season to Georgia Southern
Tom Josten’s walk-off heroics in the bottom of the 9th on Friday night seems like nothing but a distant memory now. UCF Baseball had little to be happy about after dropping two of the three weekend games to a Georgia Southern team that pounced on seemingly every ball that came across the plate. The Knights (8-3) were out scored 34 to 21 which tells you hitting might have not been the problem.
Three Key Takeaways from the Knights’ Frustrating Weekend
The Knights struggled in their latest series due in no small part to several fielding errors. The team had trouble fielding routine ground balls, which led to extra base runners and that ultimately cost them runs. The outfield also had a difficult time, misjudging fly balls that dropped for extra base hits. On Friday night, Starting Pitcher Ruddy Gomez did his best to work around the errors, but the extra base runners and extended innings eventually took their toll further in the series.
The team needs to focus on improving their fielding in order to prevent similar mistakes from happening in future games. They also need to communicate better on the field, making sure everyone knows their responsibilities and where they need to be. Pretty simple right?
Game 1 wasn’t so much of a pitching problem as it was more of a defensive problem. In Saturday’s game, Ben Vespi came back to the mound as a starter in hopes of helping his team win the series. That was not the case as Vespi struggled to find the strike zone, leading to a high pitch count and an early exit from the game. The bullpen wasn’t much better, giving up 13 more runs to Vespi’s six allowed. The offense tried to mount a comeback, but the deficit was too large to overcome, and the team dropped Game 2 by a score of 19-7.
You almost have to feel bad for the pitching rotation in Game 2 as Dom Stagliano was called upon to try and stabilize the pitching woes but was also pounced on by the Georgia Southern bats. Hard job to accomplish when you come on in the first inning with limited warming up.
In the third and final game of the series, Cam Leiter took the mound, but even he couldn’t stop the opposing team’s offense. He gave up a few runs early in the 2nd and the bullpen once again struggled to keep the game within reach. The offense tried to mount a comeback yet again, but the team fell short, losing the game 11—8 and the series.
The Offensive Effort is There!
Despite the series loss, the Knights scored 21 runs which would do you great service if the pitching staff came with the right stuff for the series. In their latest game, UCF found themselves down early, with Georgia Southern taking a lead. However, the team didn’t give up, and they continued to battle back, chipping away at the deficit one run at a time. The offense started to get going, with several key hits and runs batted in. Drew Farout, Ben McCabe and Andrew Sundean highlight the bats that kept the team on the board scoring runs.
Next up: The Knights host The University of North Florida at John Euliano Park on Tuesday, March 7 at 6 PM. The game will be aired on ESPN+.
Leonardo Rodriguez is a current UCF student majoring in Spanish and minoring in Journalism who expects to graduate in 2023. Leo is serving as a beat writer for the Sons of UCF and works with the UCF Spanish broadcast team for the football games. A sports aficionado, Leo grew up having a wide range of knowledge in basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. Leo is also a military veteran with four years of service.