ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – In what could be considered a true staff outing, the UCF baseball team extended its winning to streak to five games with a 4-1 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday at the baseball complex. The Knights saw eight pitchers combine on a three-hitter, allowing just a lone unearned run.
“From a staff standpoint, we threw a lot of different guys and I thought everyone of them did a nice job,” head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. “We knew tonight was going to be a situation where we used a lot of different pitchers. We talked about it yesterday and before the game today that no matter what inning a guy was called upon that we wanted them to close their inning.”
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Meyer (2-0) earned the victory after pitching 1.1 scoreless innings over the fourth and fifth frames. The Oviedo native won for the second-consecutive game, becoming the first Knight since Bryan Brown in 2010 to record a win in two-straight contests.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Knights (14-12) took a lead it would not relinquish off the bat of cleanup hitter James Vasquez. After a walk by junior Dylan Moore and a single by junior Derrick Salberg single put two men on, Vasquez stepped in and delivered a clutch, two-out double off the wall in right that scored both runners.
“Obvious the big at bat was from James,” Rooney said. “He had a big at bat with the double that scored the two runs. It was a tremendous AB when we needed it.”
Vasquez narrowly missed his second home run of the season as the ball struck the tall right-field bullpen wall. Another foot to the left and the Palm City native's shot would have landed on the party deck. Vasquez is hitting .308 with more walks than strikeouts on the season.
“I didn’t realize that double was going to end up being as big as it was at the time,” Vasquez said. “But I knew our guys would stay focused and get good at bats throughout the game. I don’t try and do anything different in the clutch, just see the ball and hit it hard.”
The Knights added to their lead in the fourth with two more runs. After a Wildcats’ (13-13) error, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases, the top of the order came through once again. Moore smoked an RBI single through the left side and Salberg followed with a sacrifice fly to give UCF its final margin of victory.
Freshman Trent Thompson earned his team-leading third save of the season after a perfect ninth. The Tampa native also leads the team with 14 total appearances.
Fellow freshman Jarrod Petree picked up three strikeouts in two hitless innings of work. The Apopka native lowered his ERA to 2.03 on the season and has spun seven-straight scoreless outings.
UCF will practice Thursday before returning to American Athletic Conference play with a three-game series against Temple at the baseball complex. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m.