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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Cougars drop series opener, 2-1, to Knights


Despite a strong effort from the pitchers, the Cougars’ offense managed just one run against the Knights. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The Cougars returned to Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park on Friday night to open a three game series against the University of Central Florida Knights.

In a battle of right-handers, Houston’s junior pitcher Andrew Lantrip took to the hill searching for his fifth win and hoped to avenge last Friday’s loss to East Carolina University.

UCF went with sophomore Cre Finfrock, who has been solid for the Knights in his role as a Friday night starter. Finfrock entered the matchup with a 2-2 record and 2.83 ERA.

Both pitchers cruised through their first five innings of work, but Lantrip ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning. Knight outfielder Eli Putnam singled to center field, driving in Luke Hamblin to give UCF a 1-0 advantage.

Poised to make noise in the seventh inning, the Cougars found themselves with runners on first and second base with just one out. Redshirt sophomore Connor Hollis then lofted a fly ball to right field for the second out, but an unaware senior Josh Vidales was doubled up at second base to end the inning.

Following suit with the error made on the base paths, the Cougars again shot themselves in the foot in the top of the eighth. Senior third baseman Justin Montemayor sailed a throw to first base that allowed the Knights to plate a run, extending their lead to 2-0.

Atoning for his error, Montemayor hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored teammate Joe Davis from third base. His efforts were not enough, however, as the tying run was stranded on third base and the Cougars fell to the Knights 2-1.

Lantrip suffered another close loss despite a solid effort. He pitched 8.2 innings of six-hit baseball, in which he allowed just one earned run, and struck out eight batters without walking a Knight hitter.

The Cougars will try to even the series Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Schroeder Park.

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