March 29, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - In front of the 16th-largest crowd all-time (1,904), the UCF baseball team completed a dramatic comeback with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to claim a 4-3 victory and even the series at 1-all with Southern Miss on Friday night.
It was the fourth win of season for the Knights (18-10, 4-1) after they had either trailed or been tied in the eighth inning.
Redshirt senior Chris Matulis pitched in and out of trouble throughout the game while also showing off some leather by fielding his position superbly to improve his record to 3-0, and 10-0 lifetime as a Knight. He went a career-best eight innings for the second-straight week, scattering eight hits while allowing three runs, two walks and striking out five.
Those guys have a lot to be proud of, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. Chris Matulis did a tremendous job. He just battled all night. It was back-and-fourth with their pitcher (Andrew Pierce) who did a great job. He is one of the best in the country, no question.
Early in the game we certainly had opportunities that in the future we need to take advantage of. At the end of the day, Matulis did a great job, and that was a team win. I am extremely proud of how those guys hung in there off of a great pitcher all the way to the end.
The series finale will be a family friendly event with a pair of Easter egg hunts at 11:30 a.m. (ages 5 & under) and 11:45 (ages 6-10) prior to 12:30's first pitch. Special appearances will be made by Knightro and the Easter Bunny.
Trailing 1-0 after a USM RBI groundout in the top of the inning, UCF had a chance to make the Golden Eagles pay in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and one out, but a strikeout looking followed by a foul popup to the second baseman ended the threat.
The Knights would finally break through on Pierce in the bottom of the eighth after he hit pinch hitter Jeramy Matos and walked James Vasquez with one out. Erik Barber would come in to pinch run for Matos prior to right fielder Erik Hempe (2-for-4, 2 RBI) lacing a 1-2 pitch to the left-center wall for a two-run double to make it 3-2.
After moving into sole possession of No. 9 on the all-time hit list with a second-inning double, third baseman Chris Taladay (2-for-4, 1 RBI) didn't wait long to tie the game, sending an 0-1 pitch up the middle past the defense for his 25th RBI of 2013. He now owns 237-career base-knocks as a Knight.
The all-important eighth would continue after the reigning Conference USA Hitter of the Week, Parker Webster, blooped a single to into shallow left field and rookie Bo Decker beat out a ball to the third baseman. Sophomore shortstop Tommy Williams waited out USM reliever Jay Myrick on a 3-2 pitch outside of the zone for the bases-loaded, game-winning walk to score Taladay.
Rooney would turn to closer Spencer Davis in the top of the ninth, and The Woodlands, Texas, native did his job, getting Isaac Rodriguez to fan through an 0-2 breaking ball with a runner at first to secure the victory and his third save of the year.
Ten 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 by calling 407-UCF-1000 or visit the baseball tickets page. Stay up-to-date on all the latest news by visiting UCFAthletics.com and following the team on Twitter (@UCF_Baseball) and Facebook.