Wednesday night in Gainesville followed a similar pattern to Tuesday night in Orlando. Florida dug a hole early on and spent the rest of the night fruitlessly trying to climb out of it.
In the end the Knights (10-3) swept the midweek season series against No. 1 Florida (12-3) with a 4-2 win.
They had opportunities to not only tie the game but also break it open with bases loaded in the fifth and eighth innings. In the fifth Florida was able to load the bases with just one out but one run on a bases loaded walk is all they could collect. The Gators loaded the bases again in the eighth inning and left them there.
“We had plenty of opportunities, especially there late in the game,” Blake Reese said. “The offense was struggling early. We certainly had opportunities there in the last couple innings and came close. It’s good to see a little bit of life but we’ve gotta cash in on some of these opportunities.”
The Knights kicked the game off with a bang. Leadoff hitter Ray Alejo doubled off of the top of the left field wall and was driven home by a towering, two-run home run off of Rylan Thomas’ bat.
“We were trying to pitch around Thomas there,” O’Sullivan said of his freshman pitcher. “We get to a 3-1 count and it’s a fastball off the plate. it was down but at that point in the day the wind was blowing straight out to left-left center. I’m sure if he could he’d love to have that pitch back.”
Outside of two pitches Butler pitched well Wednesday night. The freshman completed five innings, giving up just the two runs on three hits and one walk while striking out three. Freshman Tommy Mace relieved him and struggled early.
UCF scored runs off of Mace in the sixth and seventh innings to extend their lead. A two-out solo home run from Matthew Mika did it in the sixth and a hit batter followed by two singles did it in the seventh.
The Gators will regroup with practice on Thursday before hosting Rhode Island for a three-game series this weekend.