Last time the UCF team faced FAU this season, Owls pitcher Jake Meiers kept the Knights in line by going six innings and giving up just two runs.
That was not the case on Tuesday.
It was all about UCF’s high-powered offense and consistent pitching as they shut out FAU, 12-0, at Jay Bergman Field.
UCF (23-14 overall, 4-8 in C-USA) jumped on Meiers early and didn’t let up the whole game against any pitcher, accumulating 16 hits and finishing the game with every offensive starter recording a hit. With the win, UCF split the season series with FAU one apiece. UCF designated hitter DJ Hicks went 3-for-5, drove in six runs, and upped his team-high batting average to .346.
“After this past weekend, we needed to make a statement,” Hicks said. “Now with 19 games left, it’s time we start rolling for the postseason.”
DJ Hicks continued his hot hitting with runners on base after back-to-back doubles in consecutive innings. The latter was a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to put the Knights up 11-0.
“Guys got in scoring position for me and that’s all I can ask for,” Hicks said. “ I was able just to hit the ball deep enough to get it over their heads.”
UCF starting pitcher Ray Hanson bounced back tonight against the Owls after a rough start against Tulane in which he went 2/3 of an inning and gave up four runs along with one walk.
“Last outing against Tulane kind of left me with a sour taste in my mouth,” Hanson said. “I just wanted to get out there and show that I am better than that, and that I can go out there and dominate. I felt like I did that tonight.”
Hanson got into a little trouble in the fourth inning when FAU had the bases loaded with one out. After a meeting at the mound with the infielders, Hanson buckled down to force a fly out and then struck out the next batter. He completed six innings, allowing only six hits and striking out five batters. He also lowered his ERA to 2.94 and improved his record to 3-1.
“I thought he went out there extremely focused and determined to get the job done,” said UCF head coach Terry Rooney of Hanson’s performance. “He really worked pitch to pitch. I was really impressed by his tempo. Each pitch is its own pitch. He really took his time and did a good job.”
FAU pitcher Meiers, who now has an overall record of 2-4, only lasted three innings for the Owls (23-14 overall, 10-5 in Sun Belt), giving up six hits and four earned runs. Nathan Pittman, Nick DelGuidice and Mike Albaladejo all recorded two hits, respectively for the Owls.
Looking forward, UCF will face No. 5 Florida on Wednesday night in Orlando, looking to sweep the season series against the Gators. Then they will finish their week with a road trip to Memphis for a weekend C-USA matchup.