March 28, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Junior Dylan Moore had a career-night at the plate as the UCF baseball team extended its winning streak to six games by defeating Temple, 6-4, in the opening matchup of its American Athletic Conference weekend series.
The Knights (15-12, 4-0 The American) are 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2005 when they were a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Moore set a new-career high with four RBIs and also matched his high mark with four hits. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native had a pair of doubles and increased his batting average to a season-best .336 after the stellar performance.
D-Moore has been swinging the bat well for a while, really for the last two weeks, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. He's a tremendous defensive player and offensively he's getting it going. He's not just giving us hits, but he's also giving us quality at-bats at the top of the lineup. He's seeing pitches, working counts, kind of doing that game within the game. He's doing a great job for us.
Looking to become the first Knight since Darnell Sweeney in 2010 to record five hits in a game, Moore drew a walk in his final plate appearance in the eighth inning. The free pass improved Moore's on-base percentage to .427, tops on the team.
This was a great opportunity for us, Moore said. You always want to get the first win in the series, especially in conference. You can't take anything for granted in this game. I was seeing the ball really well and wanted to get a pitch to drive in that last at-bat, but a walk is as good as a hit.
Junior Eric Skoglund (4-0) battled through five innings, giving up three runs, to earn his fourth win of the year. The Sarasota native scattered seven hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts.
Skoglund was backed by an impressive effort from the UCF bullpen. Junior Zach Rodgers continued to be a jack-of-all-trades as he earned his second save of the season after allowing one hit in 1.1 innings pitched. The Glendale, Ariz., native has proven to be equally effective as a starter and reliever as he currently holds the lowest ERA on the team in both roles.
The guys have done well, I'm really proud of them, Rooney said. This is a good team and I love coaching them. I think when you look at the bigger picture of this team so far at this point in the season, you look at the resiliency. They experienced some tough one-run losses and some extra inning losses and they've hung in there and gotten some big wins. The kids deserve all the credit and they are playing with a lot of confidence.
After giving up the game's first run in the third inning, UCF came right back in the bottom half of the frame as junior Derrick Salberg stepped in and tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center. The big strike for the Knights, came in the fourth when Moore ripped a clutch two-out, bases-clearing double into the gap in left to put the Black and Gold up 4-1.
A wild pitch with runners on second and third in the sixth inning extended the Knights' lead to 5-3 before Moore finished UCF's scoring later in the frame with an RBI single through the right side.
Game two between UCF and the Owls (7-11, 2-2) will take place Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. first pitch. Junior Tanner Olson will take the mound for the Knights in his first weekend start of the season.
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