CLEARWATER, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Five runs over the opening four innings were not enough for the No. 6 UCF baseball team to edge No. 2 Cincinnati in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship, falling 10-6.
After Cincinnati put a pair of runs on the board in the top of the second, the Knights bounced back with two of their own in the bottom half. Hernandez laced a two-run double down the left field line with the bases loaded.
Two innings later, Ben McCabe took over. The rookie Ben McCabe showed off his arm behind the plate with a pair of runners caught stealing in the top of the fourth, before he went yard for a solo homer in the bottom half.
Four batters later, Beaver drove a full-count offering beyond the outstretched arm of the shortstop for a two-run single that made it 5-2.
Starting pitcher Jaylyn Whitehead made his exit after four innings of work. The southpaw struck out three and scattered seven hits. Whitehead allowed just two runs and a pair of walks.
The Black and Gold did not score until the ninth inning. The Bearcats scored eight unanswered runs over the next five innings.
McCabe drove in his second run of the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a double off the wall in left center.
No. 6 UCF (36-22) – 10, No. 2 Cincinnati (29-29) – xx
Winning pitcher: AJ Kullman (2-6)
Losing pitcher: Luis Ferrer (2-1)
Top hitters: Brandon Hernandez (3-5, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 2B), Ben McCabe (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 HR), Dallas Beaver (1-4, 2 RBI)
Top pitchers: Jaylyn Whitehead (4 IP, 3 K, 7 H, 2 R)
• The Knights now lead the all-time series 12-8.
• Ben McCabe’s home run was his second of the year.
• Brandon Hernandez notched his second three-hit game of the year.
• McCabe threw out his fifth and sixth runners trying to steal on Saturday.
• The rookie also recorded his first career two-RBI game.
The Knights will have to wait until Monday to find out their postseason fate. The NCAA Selection Show is set for Noon on ESPNU.
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