“(Owen) has a tremendous demeanor, poise on the mound and throws a lot of strikes,” said head coach Terry Rooney. “He did a tremendous job tonight, he lived down in the zone and I thought the tone of the game was started by how he attacked the first couple hitters. There was a great crowd tonight, an excitement and a buzz in the air, and he helped that.”

Dew continued an Opening Day trend for UCF where the starting pitcher lasted at least 5.0 innings without giving up an earned run for the third-consecutive year. He finished with six strikeouts and only one walk and four hits allowed.

“It’s definitely a boost in confidence to know you can go out there and compete at this high level of baseball,” said Dew, who transferred from the Seminole State College of Florida. “It was good to get out there on the bump and face different hitters, not the guys you’ve been facing all year. So I’ll hope to come back next week and work on from where I left off.”

Luciano was one of four players with two hits on the night. The Black and Gold outhit the Tigers, 11-7, with senior Shane Brown connecting for the game’s lone home run.

The 2010 season did not exactly get off to a slow start thanks to Dew. The righty stepped on the hill and threw six-straight strikes for two quick Ks. Dew then sat down Jonathan Ross to complete the hat trick, striking out the side in the very first inning of the year.

Dew gave way to the offense and this time it was a returning veteran that got the Knights on the board. With two away, Brown drove a 2-2 pitch from Michael Allegretti deep over the left-field fence for a solo shot in his first at-bat of 2010.

It remained 1-0 until the third, as freshman Ronnie Richardson’s second walk of the game scared Allegretti. The SSU righty next faced Luciano, but appeared more concerned about Richardson’s threat to steal by throwing over to first several times. The distraction caused by the UCF center fielder helped bring in the next run, where Luciano blasted a RBI double down the right-field line. After a free pass to Brown, sophomore Beau Taylor sent a run-scoring single into right, and junior Jonathan Griffin capped off the frame with a RBI fielder’s choice.

Now holding a 4-0 cushion, the Black and Gold put up another three-spot in the fourth, which would be Allegretti’s last inning. Freshman Austin Johnston led off by way of a double and with one away, Richardson drew yet another walk. Luciano then dug in and cleared the bases with his second double of the evening, while he also stepped on home thanks to a single from Brown.

UCF decided to send in a lefty to the hill in the sixth inning, with freshman Brian Adkins keeping the Tigers off the board until an unearned run ruined the Knights’ shutout bid in the eighth. SSU would plate the game’s final run on a fielder’s choice in the ninth for the final 7-2 margin.

Game two of the three-game set will get underway Saturday at 4 p.m., with temperatures expected to be in the mid-to-upper 60s. Miss Florida USA Megan Clementi will have the honor of throwing out the first pitch.