Despite losing the series, UCF’s A-Sun Tournament hopes are still alive entering next weekend’s final A-Sun series at home vs. Jacksonville. If UCF would sweep Jacksonville and Campbell can win just one game at Troy State, the Golden Knights would qualify for the A-Sun Tournament. Troy State pulled out a 10-7 win over Belmont in 10 innings Sunday to avoid the sweep to the Bruins.
If the Golden Knights win two of three from Jacksonville, Troy State must lose two to Campbell, Belmont would have to sweep Gardner-Webb and the winner of the Jacksonville State-Georgia State series would have to win in a sweep.
In game one, the Hatters capitalized on a Golden Knight error with two outs to score two unearned runs. John DeStefano singled through the right side with the bases loaded to score two, giving Stetson a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Ian Church handed Stetson a 3-0 lead with his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot, to leadoff the fourth inning.
UCF trimmed the lead to 3-1 in the seventh as Dave Lambert ripped a RBI-single to left field, scoring Clay Timpner. Timpner started the inning with a double for the Golden Knights. With Lambert on first and one out, McCuen struck out Dee Brown swinging and got Drew Butera to ground out to shortstop to end the game.
The loss wasted another outstanding pitching performance by UCF’s Mark Michael (7-5). The senior right-hander limited the Hatters to just one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts for his team-leading fifth complete game of the season. Michael lost his third game this season in the A-Sun after allowing just one earned run.
In game two, Matt Fox (3-3) pitched 5.2 innings, limiting the Hatters to just three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts for the win. Fox improved to 2-0 on the year in the A-Sun with the win.
Stetson pieced together three hits in the second including a RBI-single by Rusty Beale to hand the Hatters a 1-0 lead. Beale hit a chopper over Nathan Kragt’s head at third base to put Stetson on top 1-0.
Ryan Bear tied the game at one with a two-out RBI single in the third.
Kragt delivered a clutch, two-out RBI-single in the fourth to give the Golden Knights a 2-1 advantage. The base hit for Kragt came on a 0-2 count.
UCF broke the game open with a four-run fifth to take a 6-1 lead. P.J. Lehmann and Kragt each drove in a run with RBI-singles and Rich Wallace plated two runs with a double to give UCF a five-run cushion.
In the Golden Knight sixth, Lehmann added another RBI-single and Wallace drilled a two-run double to dead center to put the game out of reach, 9-1.
The Golden Knights finish the 2003 regular season next weekend at home vs. Jacksonville. The series starts at Jay Bergman Field Friday at 6 p.m.