MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF junior righty Juan Pimentel pitched into the ninth inning to lead the Knights to a series-clinching 7-1 win at Memphis on Sunday. He registered eight strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings of work and allowed just one run.
"Juan was fantastic and did a terrific job. He provided us with plus tempo and threw strikes," head coach Terry Rooney said. "When he is down in the zone like he was today, he is very good. He did a great job and set the tone for us, then we got some runs early."
Pimentel threw up eight zeroes to start the contest and only allowed two Tigers to reach base on singles during that stretch. UCF pushed across two runs in the third inning and added a single run in the next three frames to take control of the contest.
Juniors Matt Diorio, Luke Hamblin and Ryan Crile tallied two hits each to pace the UCF (17-13, 2-1 The American) offense. A pair of runs were driven in by Diorio against Memphis (10-17, 1-2 The American), while solo homers were blasted by senior first baseman Sam Tolleson and junior shortstop Kam Gellinger.
"It was a total team effort on Championship Sunday and the guys did a fantastic job," Rooney added. "To win a series to open conference play is a great accomplishment in this league. After losing on Friday, we were able to bounce back and win on Saturday and Sunday, which shows a lot about the character of these guys."
The Knights return home on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. contest against No. 18 Florida Atlantic
- Juan Pimentel improved to 2-4 by tossing 8 1/3 innings and fanning a career-high eight.
- The Miami, Fla., native only allowed five hits and no free passes during his outing.
- He gave up only two hits through the first eight frames.
- Memphis scored its only run in the ninth inning off a trio of hits.
- Trent Thompson came in and threw two pitches to induce a game-ending double play.
"It was really important to come out and set the tempo early to get the win and take the series. Everything went well today. All my pitches were working and I had my command. It was a good day collectively."
-RHP Juan Pimentel
Getting the Leadoff Batter On
- The Knights scored runs in the third, fourth and fifth frames after the leadoff runner reached base.
- After Luke Hamblin drew a walk in the third inning and took second base on a sac bunt, Ryan Crile drove in the first Knights' run with a double to right center. An RBI base hit was picked up by Matt Diorio to up the advantage to 2-0.
- Kam Gellinger blasted his second homer of the year to lead off the fourth inning.
- In the fifth inning, a leadoff single by Logan Heiser and stolen base enabled Luke Hamblin to drive him home with a double down the left field line.
"Our offense did a nice job the past two days. Really from top to bottom, there have been different guys stepping up not just with hits but team baseball -- moving guys over and driving guys in. Every day it has been someone different offensively."
HC Terry Rooney
Noting The Tigers
- Matt Ferguson (3-4) went five inning and struck out two, while allowing five runs.
- Darien Tubbs paced the Tigers with two hits, while Jack Little drove in the lone run.
- Drew Crosby, James Muse, Trey McNickle and Alex Hicks also same action for Memphis.