UCF fall to North Florida 7-2

ORLANDO — Michael Renner pitched seven innings of scoreless baseball, while giving up four hits and recording four strikeouts as the North Florida Ospreys defeated the University Of Central Florida Knights 7-2 on Tuesday, March 5 at Jay Bergman Field on the UCF Campus.

Renner who had pitched a combined seven innings in three relief appearances prior to Tuesday’s game, was making his first start of the season for the Ospreys.

“He did a great job,” said UCF head coach Terry Rooney about Renner’s pitching performance for North Florida. “He’s definitely a pitchability lefty, had a good change up, good breaking ball, was throwing all his pitches for strikes and really did a good job. He kept us off balance all night.”

UCF starting pitcher Eric Skoglund went six innings for the Knights, giving up four earned runs on ten hits while striking out five. With the loss Skoglund’s record fell to 0-3 with a 7.07 ERA.

Erik Hempe went 2-5 with a run batted in and a run scored for UCF, while teammate JoMarcus Woods also went 2-5 with a run scored for the game.

North Florida’s Corbin Olmstead went 3-5 with two runs batted in and one run scored for the Osprey’s, while also recording the save.

“We’re confident going everywhere,” said Ospreys’ first baseman Ryan Roberson about the win over the Knights. “We just beat Florida last week, so we’re confident going to every school. UCF’s definitely a tough school to beat though, especially in their home park.”

Roberson finished the game 2-5 with one run scored, which came during North Florida’s two run first inning.

Olmstead singled to left field in the top of the first scoring both Joe Wielbruda and Ryan Roberson to give the Ospreys a 2-0 early in the game.

The Osprey’s added two more runs in the fourth when Alex Bacon hit a two-run home run to give North Florida a 4-0 lead over the Knights. The Osprey’s scored three more runs in the seventh thanks to back-to back home runs from Drew Weeks and Tyler Marincov to extend their lead to 7-0.

“Our offense has been swinging it well lately,” said Roberson after the game. “We’ve been making solid contact with the balls, putting them in play. Sometimes we get hits, sometimes we don’t. That’s baseball.”

UCF got it’s offense going in the eighth when they scored two runs on three hits off of relief pitcher Kyle Westwood.

“At the end of the day we can’t keep falling behind,” said Rooney after the game. “As good as our offense is; and I think it’s got a chance to be very good, you can’t keep falling behind.”

The Knights would rally in the ninth with three runs, all of which came after Donnie Dewees made an error on a Woods flyball to left field. The rally was cut short when Olmstead came in to close the game for North Florida and struck out Jeramy Matos swinging.

“UNF played very well,” said Rooney. “They’re a very good team and they certainly beat us in absolutely every aspect of the game tonight.”

With the loss UCF’s record falls to 7-5 for the season. The Knights are now off to Coral Gables to face the Miami Hurricanes at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.