ORLANDO — Central Florida’s Joe Sheridan yielded a lone run over eight innings as the No. 20 Knights dealt No. 18 East Carolina a 9-1 loss on Friday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both programs.
Game two between UCF (18-6) and ECU (16-5) is scheduled for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
The Pirates took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Connor Litton. Jake Washer had reached on an infield hit and moved to third on a single down the right field line by Spencer Brickhouse. Washer scored on a hit to right by Litton.
The Knights got a sacrifice fly from Matthew Mika that brought in Ray Alejo with the tying run in the bottom of the fourth.
Alejo had four RBIs and Rylan Thomas drove in a pair for the Knights. The hosts scored four times in the fifth and added four more runs in the sixth.
Sheridan (3-1) allowed seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Eric Hepple retired the Pirates in order in the ninth.
“Sheridan pitched really well for UCF and they played great defense,” said ECU coach Cliff Godwin. “They were able to execute offensively and we just didn’t play very well tonight. You have to give all the credit to them as they played better than us tonight.”
Trey Benton (4-2) absorbed the loss. He gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings. West Covington, Cam Colmore, Zach Barnes and Austin Covers also turned in mound stints for ECU.
Brickhouse had two hits for the Pirates. Nick Barber, Turner Brown, Bryant Packard, Washer and Litton also had hits for ECU.