TAMPA, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The Knights fell on a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth at USF, 5-4, on Saturday night. Solo homers were recorded by juniors Ryan Crile and Austin Griffin in the fourth inning to tie the game at four at the USF Baseball Stadium.
The Bulls started a one-out rally in the ninth inning with a single up the middle by Kevin Merrell, who stole second and forced the Knights to issue an intentional walk. The next batter, Luke Maglich, came up with a double off the fence in left field on a 3-2 pitch to score the game-winning run.
UCF (21-24, 5-9 The American) had its best opportunity to score the go-ahead run by loading the bases in the eighth inning. A single by junior center fielder Luke Hamblin and walks issued to juniors Brennan Bozeman and Matt Diorio put three runners on, but a diving catch by the USF (21-22, 6-8 The Americna) right fielder led to a double play after the throw beat the runner back to first base.
The Knights played with a heavy heart during the game as the program found out earlier in the day that UCF signee Joe Skinner lost his fight with cancer. Click here to read about how Skinner kept his spirits high, while battling cancer.
- UCF Baseball (@UCF_Baseball) April 30, 2016
Two-Run Third Inning
- The Knights cut their deficit to 4-2 with a pair of runs and two hits in the third frame.
- Following a walk drawn by Eugene Vazquez, Sam Tolleson singled through the right side and an error enabled the runner to score.
- Putnam pushed across the second run on a ground out, 4-2.
A Helping Hand
- The Knights were given a little assistance by the left fielder on a pair of fourth-inning solo homers.
- Left-handed hitter Ryan Crile connected on an opposite-field shot that would have been just short of the fence, but the ball hit the left fielder's glove and landed over the fence. It was his fourth round tripper of the season.
- A big fly by Austin Griffin to left center knocked the left fielder's glove off, which landed over the fence along with the ball. He blasted his ninth homer of the campaign.
- After starter Juan Pimentel went just 1 1/3 innings, the Knights' bullpen kept USF off the board for the next six frames.
- Sophomore Chris Williams tossed one inning and struck out two to keep the USF advantage at 4-0 in the second.
- A 3 2/3 frame performance was logged by junior lefty Harrison Hukari, who totaled three strikeouts.
- Junior Trent Thompson induced a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play to retire the side in the eighth inning. He was handed the loss after going 1 1/3 frames and striking out two.
Noting the Bulls
- USF was paced by Luke Maglich with a three hits including a two-run homer in the first inning and the game-winning double.
- Starter Brandon Lawson went seven innings and struck out eight, while giving up three earned runs.
- The victory was earned by Andrew Perez (1-4) tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief with one strikeout.
- The series finale between the Knights and Bulls is set for noon Sunday.
- UCF begins a four-game homestand on Wednesday with a 6:30 p.m. start against Jacksonville. The contest will serve as the final Dollar Dog Knight of the season.