What: Florida Atlantic (3-0) vs. UCF (3-0)
When: Feb 21st 6:00 PM Orlando | Mar 28th 6:30 PM Boca Raton
Where: John Euliano Park | FAU Baseball Stadium
Live Stats: Here
UCF Team Site: Here
Series: The Knights lead 47-39. FAU is 13-10 under Coach John McCormack
Projected Starting Pitchers:
FAU - LHP Evan Waterbor (0-0, 0.0 ERA 1.0 IP)
UCF - LHP Jacob Marlowe (0-0, 0.0 ERA 1.1 IP)
Florida Atlantic left no doubt they came to score runs in their 2023 series opener against Monmouth.
The Owls put up 37 digits, which were fueled by six homers, eight doubles, and a pair of triples. They also showed patience at the plate, netting 22 free passes.
Outfielder Dylan Goldstein (9) combined with newcomer Christian Adams (6, pictured below) for 15 RBI and FAU saw eight starters hit at .300 or better over the course of the three games.
The bullpen also showed prowess limiting the Hawks to a .243 team mark, and combining for a 2.0 ERA overall. Game eve decision Nicholas DelPrado stepped in with no time to ready himself and tossed a four inning gem limiting the Hawks to just a hits over four scoreless frames.
"He didn't really have a chance to prepare", said Coach John McCormack. "For him to go out and give us four scoreless, I thought he looked great."
The Owls are coming off an emotionally charged 5-3 win over UCF in Boca Raton after dropping last season's opener to the Knights in Orlando 13-1. It would be fair to say they have a few more weapons on both sides of the ball this year and the two game set should provide competitive play.
Only two other Conference USA teams saw perfect marks for opening weekend: Dallas Baptist (3-0 vs Fordham) and WKU (3-0 vs Dayton). Opposition for both squads hail in the Atlantic 10 and were tabbed 9th and 5th respectively in their preseason poll. FAU's opponent Monmouth was chosen 9th in the Colonial, which is two spots ahead of the A10 in RPI at 24th.
Accordingly, it is fair to say that just judging by numeric match-ups only the Owls (37 runs) went to to toe against DBU in offensive production (40 runs) for the weekend.
Central Florida also faired well for opening weekend, setting down Siena 3-0 for a series sweep. Friday saw a lopsided affair 22-5 affair with the Knights combining for 22 hits, while seeing five players with multi-hit efforts and two with multi-homer games.
Saturday was the polar opposite and ended in a 2-1 victory with UCF needing a walk-off homerun to seal the win. However, they returned to form for Sunday's finale and concluded the weekend with an 11-1 showing that finished the game off early in the 7th inning.
UCF hit .352 as a team in the trio of contests and held the Saints to just .195 at the plate. They saw 10 homers, seven doubles, and one three bagger overall. RBI production was spread fairly even, but veteran catcher Ban McCabe (.500) yielded the hottest bat for the Knights with a team high six hits, seven RBI, and three homeruns. He mustered a slugging mark of 1.33.
Like the Owls, Central Florida was picked to finish 3rd in the American's 2023 preseason poll. The Knights have two pitchers on the Preseason All-Conference Team, including junior Ben Vespi, who was 6-4 with a 3.56 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 65.2 innings, and redshirt senior reliever Kyle Kramer, who had six saves and a 3.69 ERA last season.
UCF added eight freshmen and nine transfers over the summer to replace the nineteen departures from last season, including three who were selected in the Major League Baseball draft over the summer.
The contest will not be available on any streaming service as of the time of this posting. We'll be posting updates on the thirds, so be sure and check back both during and after the game.