GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Despite holding a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, the UCF baseball team wasn’t able to hold on for the win against Florida at McKethan Stadium as the Gators took the contest, 5-3, Tuesday night.
In a game that featured three lead changes, UCF used six pitchers while outhitting the Gators (14-16), 8-7. Senior 3B Chris Taladay notched his 240th-career hit while extending his hit streak to eight games, and leftfielder Parker Webster put together his ninth multi-hit game of the year.
In his second-career appearance at McKethan Stadium, LHP Eric Skoglund went 5 1/3 innings while scattering five hits and allowing two earned runs with one strikeout. He used his defense well by inducing a pair of double plays, while also showing off his athleticism with a diving catch on a popped-up bunt in the third.
The Knights (18-12) will now head to Memphis for the second stop on their eight-game road trip for a three-game set in Conference USA play. They will look to improve upon their 4-2 record in the league.
UCF struck first in the top of the second inning with three-straight hits beginning with Webster’s one-out ground-rule double to left field followed by an RBI single by Jeramy Matos (1-for-4, 1 RBI) through the right side. Austin Johnston (1-for-3) put runners at second and third after his second double of the year prior to Tommy Williams (1-for-3, 1 R) walking to load the bases.
After the Gators made their first of three pitching changes, JoMarcos Woods (1-for-3, 2 RBI) walked on five pitches to bring home Matos and make it a 2-0 game.
Florida would break through the score column in the sixth with three hits, two off of Skoglund prior to him leaving the frame for RHP rookie Zac Favre. The Gators got an RBI single, followed by a RBI double off the left-field wall before the inning came to a close.
In the following half-inning, Williams would smack his fifth double of the year and later scored after Woods came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle in which the shortstop gloved the ball from his knees while ranging to his left, but couldn’t throw out the hustling centerfielder at first.
The Gators wouldn’t waste anytime tying the game at 3-all in the following frame, taking advantage of a two-out fielding error. They would tack on two more in their final two frames at the dish to put the game out of reach as the Knights had to use four pitchers in the last two innings.
Redshirt senior LHP Chris Matulis suffered his first loss as a Knight in 2/3 innings of work as two unearned runs were charged to him. It was his 32nd-career appearance at UCF.