March 29, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Junior Derrick Salberg hit his first-career home run as part of a four-run first inning that helped power the UCF baseball team past Temple, 8-2, on Saturday night at the baseball complex. The game started three hours later than its scheduled 4 p.m. start time due to heavy rains earlier in the afternoon.
The Knights (16-12, 5-0) won their seventh-consecutive game and are 5-0 in conference play for the first time since 2002.
The emphasis in the game tonight was learning to adjust, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. Today was all about adjustments. The guys were here at 11 a.m., they pulled the tarp off then had to put it back on. Next thing you know we have a three-hour delay. So that was really the challenge today, can you adjust to something unexpected and they proved they can do it.
Salberg finished his evening a triple shy of the cycle as he went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs, matching teammate Dylan Moore's totals from the Friday's contest. The Kelso, Wash., native has proven to be crucial to the Knights' success as the team is 15-5 in games he's played. Salberg leads the team in batting average (.371) and on-base percentage (.434).
That was my first home run in college, Salberg said. I saw the wind was blowing straight out so I knew if I could get something in the air it could carry it. Tomorrow is championship Sunday. Friday and tonight won't mean that much if we don't take care of business on Sunday.
The Knights jumped on the Owls (7-12, 2-3) with four runs in the first before Temple could record a single out. After Salberg's two-run shot, junior James Vasquez made it 3-0 with an RBI double into the corner in right. Junior Sam Tolleson stepped in next and plated Vasquez with an RBI single up the middle.
Freshman Kam Gellinger extended the lead to 5-0 with an RBI double in the third. The Cape Coral native was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Moore and Salberg completed the scoring for the Black and Gold with back-to-back RBI singles in the eighth. Moore continued his torrid pace this series, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Junior Tanner Olson (3-1) made his first weekend start of the season and did not disappoint as he earned the win. The Ferndale, Wash., native went a career-high 8.1 innings and allowed six hits and two runs to go along with three strikeouts.
Tanner Olson pitched another great game tonight, Rooney said. He's done it the last couple starts. Last night we used a lot of different guys so he certainly helped our bullpen. He stayed down zone which is what he needs to do, he really did a nice job.
Olson pounded the strike zone all night and forced a season-best 13 ground ball outs. His lone blemish was a two-run homer given up in the top of the ninth inning.
As soon as I committed here, I knew I wanted to be a weekend starter, Olson said. I finally got there and I plan on staying here. I found out on Tuesday that I was going to go this weekend and I embraced it. I had command of all three pitches, my fastball was where I wanted to put it. I wish I could have gone all nine, but I'm glad we got the win.
Sophomore Zac Favre struck out both batters he faced in the ninth inning to finish off the victory. The Jacksonville native has six-consecutive scoreless appearances and has lowered his ERA to 2.61 in that stretch.
UCF will look for the sweep as the series concludes tomorrow with a Sunday matinee beginning at 1 p.m. Junior Spencer Davis will make his seventh-consecutive weekend start against a to-be-determined starter for Temple.
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