1-0 count to start off the game, Tommy Miller pitches to Eli Putnam and the ball travels past the Spectrum sign in left field, and the crowd erupts. That is how tonight’s 17-6 win over Siena began in front of an announced record crowd of 2,621.
The Knights went off scoring 10 runs in a 28 minute top of the first inning. Tommy Miller only lasted 1/3 of an inning for Siena giving up all of those 10 runs on 8 hits.
The Knights tied an opening day record that was set back in 2008 against Florida A&M, they won the game 17-1.
UCF starting pitcher Robby Howell went 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and striking out 9 batters. Outfielder Luke Hamblin had a career night by getting 4 hits and 4 RBIs. Relief pitcher Trent Thompson got two strikeouts in his 6th inning role that Coach Lovelady gave him tonight.
Overall, UCF pitching got 16 strikeouts, and gave up 6 earned runs on 11 hits. While the UCF offense got 17 runs on 21 hits (6 being extra base hits).
UCF is hoping that this offensive explosion will carry on to the next game as they hope to start the Lovelady era on a winning note.
Juan Pimentel will be the starting pitcher for UCF tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm against Siena at Jay Bergman Field for game two of the three game weekend home series. Last year, Pimentel went 3-7 with 62 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Is Puerto Rico ready for the World Baseball Classic in one month? No.
The Serie del Caribe is going on right now and that is holding the team back from getting the pieces neccesary to make the run they made in 2013 ready to go. Los Criollos de Caguas won the LBPRC this year and went to face teams from the Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Venezuela in a series of games hosted this year by Mexico. A good amount of players could come from that same roster and be written into the roster that will be play in the WBC.
Alex Cora, former MLB infielder, is the general manager of team Puerto Rico and has had a tough task in convincing top MLB talent such as George Springer, Jake Arrieta, Marcus Stroman, and Nolan Arenado to play for the team. 2013 manager Edwin Rodriguez is back to lead the Puerto Ricans back to the final and win the title they felt they deserved but couldn't pull it off against the Dominicans in 2013.
Players have been either doing their own offseason workouts or hanging out in Puerto Rico getting ready. Reliever from the Texas Rangers, Alex Claudio has been staying fit with the AA teams from Puerto Rico and has now started pitching in simulated games. Joe Jimenez and Edwin Diaz have been running camps in the island staying loose with other players and even kids throughout the Christmas time. Ivan de Jesus Jr. is going off in the winter league and now in the Caribbean Series as well.
The roster close to the Monday deadline has a better look than it did a couple months ago.
Pitchers: Hiram Burgos, Joe Jimenez, Edwin Diaz, Alex Claudio, Seth Lugo, Hector Santiago, Jose O. Berrios, Jose De Leon, Giovanni Soto, Joseph Colon, Orlando Roman, Miguel Mejia, Jorge Lopez Infielders: Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, T.J. Rivera, Kennys Vargas, Ivan de Jesus Jr. Outfielders: Carlos Beltran, Eddie Rosario, Kike Hernandez, Angel Pagan, Reymond Fuentes Catchers: Yadier Molina, Rene Rivera, Roberto Perez
For more updates on team Puerto Rico follow @CornerSpots on twitter
Greg Lovelady was introduced to Knight Nation on July 20th this past year as the new head baseball coach for the University of Central Florida. With him, he brought the pitching coach that was by his side at Wright State, Justin Parker. Lovelady kept Ryan Klosterman on his staff and added Ryan Breen (Volunteer Assistant Coach) and Drew Roberts (Director of Baseball Ops). With the staff set, he became ready for the fall and to see what student-athletes he had in his roster.
The 2016 fall was a bit of an exciting and new challenge to all the players by just learning the ways Lovelady and his staff wanted things done. From new signs to how to approach an at bat, the feeling around the facilities became known that this team is heading to the right places this upcoming season.
The team this year consists of 12 seniors, 5 of them being pitchers. With only a couple freshmen and the rest being sophomores and juniors this club is still relatively young and has good potential.
The players, coaching staff, and everyone around that is key to the success of the team is anticipating this new season with great excitement and joy.
This is how the roster is shaping up as of now-
Pitchers: Luke Hamblin, Bryce Tucker, Dillon Turney, Joe Sheridan, Kyle Marsh, Juan Pimentel, Chris Williams, Nick McCoy, Andrew Rohloff, Campbell Scholl, Thaddeus Ward, Jason Bahr, Rylan Thomas, Jordan Scheftz, Drew Faintich, Robby Howell, Trent Thompson, and Eric Hepple
Infielders: Kam Gellinger, Brooks Morgan, Ryan Crile, Matthew Mika, Austin Griffin, Brennan Bozeman and Rylan Thomas.
Outfielders: Luke Hamblin, Austin Murphy, Eli Putnam, Max Wood, Kyle Marsh, Bryce Peterson and Josh Moser.
Catchers: Anthony George, Michael Higgins, Dallas Beaver and Logan Heiser.
Projected starting pitchers: Bryce Tucker, Chris Williams, Juan Pimentel and Robby Howell.
UCF opens up their season against Siena on February 17th at 6:30 pm.
Follow @Cornerspots on Twitter for all your UCF Baseball updates