Central Florida erupted for a 10-run first inning in a 17-6 win over Siena Baseball in the 2017 lid lifter for both teams in Orlando. Senior centerfielder Dan Swain led the Saints, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base.
UCF finished with 21 hits and were led by a four-hit, four RBI performance from No. 9 hitter Luke Hamblin. Brennan Bozeman and Kam Gellinger added three hits apiece.
The Knights sent 14 men to the plate in the decisive frame, chasing Siena ace Tommy Miller after just one third of an inning. Eli Putnam set the tone with a leadoff home run, and Ryan Crile added a three-run shot later in the frame to cap the scoring.
The Saints pieced together five unanswered runs over the middle frames. Sophomore shortstop Max Goione knocked home the first run of the year in the top of the fifth with an RBI single, driving home freshman left fielder Chris Davignon who had doubled earlier in the inning. Preseason All-MAAC selection junior second baseman Jordan Bishop added an RBI double later in the frame.
Also tabbed a Preseason All-MAAC honoree, Swain connected for Siena’s first home run of the season with a two-run shot in the seventh. Freshman Nico Ramos also went deep for the Saints, with a pinch hit solo home run in his first collegiate at-bat in the ninth.
But UCF tacked on five more runs in the seventh to pull away, as the perennial southern power recorded its 49th win in 52 all-time meetings between the programs which were facing each other to open the season for the fifth year in a row and sixth time in seven years.
Siena touched up Central Florida ace Robbie Howell, who led the American Athletic Conference with a 1.96 ERA last season, for three runs over five innings. But Howell struck out nine Saints, as five UCF hurlers combined to fan 16 Siena batters overall.
With the threat of inclement weather tomorrow night, Saturday’s middle game of the series has been pushed up to a 3 p.m. first pitch. Freshman righthander Brendan White is scheduled to make his first collegiate start for Siena, and will be opposed by Knights’ righthander Juan Pimentel.