Cre Finfrock and Brown righty Christian Taugner, the Knights scored twice in the eighth inning to break a scoreless tie against the Bears on Friday evening at the UCF Baseball Complex. Junior Eli Putnam recorded the eventual game-winning hit, while an insurance run was produced by senior Sam Tolleson.
"Their guy on the mound did a tremendous job, filled up the zone and attacked our hitters," associate head coach Ryan Klosterman said. "To be honest, our hitters put some really good swings on some baseballs, but their defense came ready to play. That is Friday night in college baseball and Cre [Finfrock] provided us with a chance and put up a lot of zeroes."
The victory was notched by senior Trent Thompson (2-1), who tossed two scoreless frames of relief and struck out one. Finfrock recorded his fourth-straight quality start and tallied eight strikeouts over seven innings of work, while only allowing two hits. It was the third combined shutout for the Knights on the season.
"Cre [Finfrock] did a phenomenal job tonight," Thompson said. "It definitely makes it easier when your starting pitcher throws seven innings without giving up a run. I wish that we could have put one on the board to get him the win."
Despite leaving seven runners on base going into the eighth frame, the mindset for the Knights did not change. Junior Matt Diorio, who is recovering from an injury, collected his teammates in the dugout and provided encouragement -- "Stay with it, stay with the process and good things will happen" -- according to coach Klosterman.
The Knights bought into those words and scored twice in the eighth inning. A lead-off walk followed by infield bunt single provided UCF with an opportunity, but the Bears made a play to retire the lead runner at third on a sac bunt attempt for the first out.
Then with two runners on, Putnam came up and hit a ball past the shortstop and through the left side to plate the first run. Tolleson delivered an insurance run with a two-out, two-strike single to third base.
"My thought process was the same the entire game," Putnam said. "It was the same that the entire team had...stay confident, put the barrel on the ball and see what happens. Those are words that our hitting coach Klosty [Ryan Klosterman] tells us all the time."
A pair of hits were tallied by junior Ryan Crile, Putnam and Tolleson to lead the Knights.
Brown (1-7) had four hitters pick up a base hit, while Taugner logged seven-plus innings and added three strikeouts.
The Knights face Bradley on Saturday with the first pitch set for 4 p.m. A meeting with Brown rounds out the weekend on Sunday at 1 p.m.