April 12, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFKnights.com) - Looking to win in Tennessee for the first time since 2011, the UCF baseball team erased an early deficit and held off multiple late rallies to outlast Memphis, 9-8, on Saturday afternoon at FedExPark.
The Knights (21-15, 9-2 The American) snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Tigers (19-17, 4-7) and set up a Sunday morning rubber match for the series victory.
Coach Rooney talks about it all the time that it doesn't matter if we win 1-0 or 21-20, the bottom line is we have to find a way to win, acting head coach Kevin Schnall said. Today we did that. Tommy Williams had an outstanding game, three two-out RBIs. JoJo Woods came up huge in the ninth with a big two-out, two-strike RBI hit. Tonight's dinner is going to taste a lot better than last night's.
Schnall is filling in for head coach Terry Rooney as he did not accompany the Knights to Memphis. Rooney remained in Orlando for the weekend to be with his wife who is due to give birth to their first child.
The Knights led 2-0 early before falling behind 3-2. The Black and Gold eventually took a three-run lead at 7-4, but Memphis showed its heart and battled back to tie it up before UCF plated two in the ninth inning. The Tigers put one more on the board in their last at bat, but were unable to complete the rally.
Williams led the way offensively as he went 3-for-4 and tied a career-high with four RBIs. The junior put UCF ahead for good in the top of the ninth with an RBI single while also providing a sacrifice fly in the fifth and a two-run single in the sixth. The North Palm Beach native also flashed his speed by picking up his team-leading ninth and 10th stolen bases.
I think we were able to get some pitches early in the count that we could put in play, Schnall said. Their pitcher that threw yesterday was tremendous, threw all three of his pitches for strikes. Their guy today was also good, but we were able to get to him earlier in the count.
Junior James Vasquez, who saw his nine-game hitting streak snapped on Friday, started a new one by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored. The Palm City native ranks third on the squad with a .320 average and leads the team with a .430 on-base percentage.
Freshman Matt Diorio made his ninth start of the season as the designated hitter as had a career-high three hits to go along with an RBI and a run scored. The Staten Island, N.Y. is now hitting a season-best .312.
The Black and Gold used seven pitchers on the afternoon. Junior Tanner Olson made the start and allowed three hits and three runs over four innings before giving way to the bullpen. Junior Joe Marotta, the fourth pitcher of the day, worked out of a based loaded, one-out jam by recording back-to-back strikeouts.
Sophomore Zac Favre (1-0) earned his first victory of the season after giving up one hit in 0.2 innings of work. Junior Zach Rodgers finished off the Tigers in the 9th with a strikeout to earn his fourth save of the year.
UCF will look to win the series as the action concludes tomorrow with a Sunday matinee beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sophomore LHP Colin Lee will start for Memphis against a to-be-determined starter for the Knights.
Ten-game voucher packages are now on sale for only $50. Select the games that you want to attend for a discounted price. Voucher packages and single-game tickets can be purchased at our Baseball Ticket Central page, or by calling the UCFAA Sales & Service Office at (407) UCF-1000. Stay up-to-date on all the latest baseball news by following the team on Twitter @UCF_Baseball, Facebook and Instagram.