CLEARWATER, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The Knights out-hit top-seeded No. 11 Tulane, 8-4, but fell 4-3 in the squad's opening game of The American Championship on Tuesday night at Bright House Field. A game-high two hits were registered by junior outfielder Matt Diorio, while two runs were driven in by senior outfielder Sam Tolleson.
"Robby [Howell] was great again. In every single start this year, he has given us the chance to win and that is what starters do," head coach Terry Rooney said.
Junior right-handed pitcher Robby Howell provided the Knights with another quality start by going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs. The Ft. White, Fla., native struck out three.
The Knights (25-32) struck first with three runs on three hits in the fifth frame. Following a walk by junior Luke Hamblin and a single by Brennan Bozeman, junior outfielder Eli Putnam put UCF up 1-0 on a groundout before Tolleson notched a two-out, two-run single to right field.
UCF had the game-tying run at third base in the eighth inning with two outs, but was unable to capitalize on the chance as the total number of base runners stranded reached 11.
Tulane (38-17) used six pitches and Corey Merrill received the victory after going 2 1/3 innings and fanning three hitters. The Green Wave took advantage of four walks and three defensive miscues against the Howell. Grant Witherspoon, Hunter Williams, Jeremy Montalbano and Joe Rogers each drove in a run.
- UCF faces an elimination game in The American Championship on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Cincinnati. The contest can be viewed on The American Digital Network (webstream/Roku).
Story by Nate Blythe. Photos by Ben Solomon/American Athletic Conference.