After a slow start to March, UCF gaining momentum with weekend sweep


The UCF Knights baseball team have appeared to put a bad start to March behind them as the team has now won six out of their last seven games, including a three-game sweep of Cincinnati this past weekend.

The Knights were rewarded for their strong play last week when the American Athletic Conference (AAC) named UCF starting pitcher Eric Skoglund and designated hitter Sam Tolleson the players of the week.

Skoglund was named the pitcher of the week after picking up the win against the Bearcats on Friday night after allowing just two hits while striking out eight in the complete game.

Tolleson earned player of the week honors after hitting .571 in the Knights’ four games last week, while scoring six runs and picking up two RBIs.

Knights head coach Terry Rooney praised Tolleson after Saturday night’s game for the way Tolleson has been hitting the ball.

“Since we’ve put him [in the lineup] he’s had a lot of quality at bats, and that’s what we need,” said Rooney. “Baseball is a game of opportunity and it’s a matter of what you do with it and we were hoping that somebody would really get hot and flourish and Sam has obviously done that.”

Tolleson owes his resurgence to the changes he’s made at the plate.

“I’ve simplified things down to see the ball and hit the ball hard,” Tolleson said. “I’ve been working with the coaches and they keep telling me to just relax up there. On the home run the pitch was low and in and I just kind of scooped it out.”

The Knights began conference play 3-0 by sweeping the Bearcats, something Tolleson said is huge for the team.

“Obviously a sweep is a huge deal,” said Tolleson. “It’s awesome to start winning. Everyone’s work ethic and confidence has been great, no one has been down.”

The Knights began March by losing their first six games of the month, but have responded by winning seven out of their last 10 games to improve to one game over the .500 mark. One of those seven wins came against the Miami Hurricanes, who were ranked 24th at the time of the game.

Despite a big win over a ranked team, the Knights are still just taking the season one game at a time.

“You have to play one game at a time,” said Rooney. “At the end of the year, every game matters. There’s no more weight for a Friday win or a Saturday win, every game is the same at the end of the year.”

The Knights continue AAC play with a three-game series against Temple at home this weekend.

(Taken from March 26, 2014 issue)