81ºF

Former UCF pitcher tosses shutout gem against Detroit Tigers in MLB debut

Skoglund throws 6 1/3 innings, five strikeouts, one walk, no runs in MLB debut

KANSAS CITY, MO - Starting pitcher Eric Skoglund of the Kansas City Royals makes his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on May 30, 2017 (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - Starting pitcher Eric Skoglund of the Kansas City Royals makes his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on May 30, 2017 (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the first time since 2005, a Kansas City Royals starting pitcher won his Major League Baseball debut as the Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The pitcher was former UCF Knight and left-handed pitcher Eric Skoglund.

Skoglund (1-0), a 6-foot-7, third-round pick in the 2014 MLB draft, had a night to remember, in which he not only earned himself a career opening win,  but also managed to beat former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and strike out two-time American League MVP and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. 

Using only three pitches, Skoglund was able to strike out one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, in addition to striking out four other batters. The former Knight went 6 1/3 innings, allowing only two hits and a walk in his shutout performance.

Skoglund, who at one point retired 14 straight batters, joined an elite list of former University of Central Florida athletes by becoming only the 10th UCF player to ever compete in a Major League Baseball game. He is also just the fifth Knight to ever pitch in the majors. 

Skoglund, who was recruited by former UCF coach and current Alabama assistant coach Terry Rooney, wasn't the only Rooney recruit to play in that game. The other was Skoglund's dueling opponent, Justin Verlander. Rooney recruited and signed Verlander to play ball for Old Dominion from 2000-2001. Skoglund pitched for Rooney from 2012-2014.