ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Freshmen Eric Skoglund and Garrett Nuss combined to three-hit visiting Harvard as the No. 19 UCF baseball team earned a 4-2 victory Saturday afternoon at the UCF baseball complex. The Knights (15-5) will go for their third sweep of March Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Despite the UCF offense only collecting two hits, the freshmen duo kept the Crimson (1-11) batters off balance all afternoon as both Skoglund and Nuss tied career highs in strikeouts with seven and five, respectively.
"Those two guys did a great job. It's great to see those two young pitchers continuing to get better before everyone's eyes," head coach Terry Rooney said. "I thought Eric was better than last week, and he worked very hard in between starts. Nuss coming in doing his job was great too. Those two are playing big roles for us."
Skoglund came out dealing, striking out the side on 12 pitches in the first inning, and the first five-of-six batters overall. He finished the contest tying his career high with seven punch outs in five innings of work, and only surrendered two hits to pick up his third win of the year.
In the sixth, Nuss entered the ballgame and tossed four innings of one-hit ball to pick up his first-career save. The Sorrento, Fla., native's last two outings have been brilliant as he has gone eight innings and given up one hit and two walks, while striking out 10.
Harvard's Joey Novak started the game with 10-straight balls and only lasted 2/3 of an inning after walking three and hitting two batters while surrendering two runs on 29 pitches. Junior D.J. Hicks walked with the bases loaded and Chris Taladay launched a sacrifice fly to center to give each a RBI in the frame.
Freshman Tommy Williams put the first hit on the board in the bottom of the second after singling down the left-field line. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, redshirt freshman Spencer Haynes drove in his first-career RBI for the 3-0 advantage.
The Crimson put up their only runs in the top of the third on a pair of hits. Skoglund got out of the jam after inducing a ground ball to third that Williams took care of.
In the bottom-half of the inning, junior Ronnie Richardson stole his second bag of the game and advanced to third after a throwing error by the catcher sent the ball into center field. Hicks took advantage with his 12th-career sacrifice fly for RBI No. 29 this season.
After Nuss came in and stranded runners on second and third in the top of the sixth, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way for the rookie. He struck out all five batters in his last three innings of work, including a pair in the top of the ninth to clinch the game.
News & Notes:
-Richardson was hit by his 11th and 12th pitches of the season and now has 42-career plunks to his name
-Haynes made a web gem in the fifth inning, scooping up the ball as he was running to his right at second and fired to Hicks at first for the out