April 27, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF baseball team made it three-straight weekends with a Conference USA series win on Saturday, topping No. 30 Houston, 5-4, after erasing a 4-1 deficit with two runs in the seventh inning on Alumni Day at the baseball complex.
On the season, the Knights improved their record to 24-19 overall, and reached double-digit wins (10-7) in C-USA for the fourth-straight year.
Redshirt sophomore RHP Spencer Davis pitched three spotless innings of relief for his fourth win of the year, allowing just two hits and striking out a pair. He relieved fellow righty Ben Lively who went six frames and allowed just three hits, but saw four runs (one earned) come across while walking five and striking out six.
We went down today, but we answered right back, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. That's how you know you have a group of guys that are determined. The first half of the season wasn't what we wanted, but these last three weeks we have been a little more consistent. I am proud of the resiliency that they showed.
The Knights totaled 10 base-knocks on the day as seven of the nine hitters in the lineup recorded a hit. Senior infielder Chris Taladay failed to break into the hit column Saturday, ending the schools fourth-longest hit streak at 20 games.
UCF will go for their second-straight sweep of the Cougars (27-16, 7-7) on Sunday at 1 p.m. with LHP Brian Adkins getting the start. The series finale will also see Coca-Cola employees receive free admission for up to four people while showing their ID at the ticket window.
Although he didn't get his 21st-career victory, it was a special moment for Lively in the second inning when he made Jonathan Davis his 200th strikeout victim on an 0-2 pitch looking. He became the ninth UCF hurler all-time to reach the 200-punchout mark.
His offense backed him in the third with singles from Erik Barber (1-for-4, 1 R) and Tommy Williams (1-for-2) prior to Erik Hempe (2-for-4, 1 RBI) working through an incredibly long at-bat to eventually chop a ball over the third baseman's head for an RBI double, his 13th two-bagger this year
The UCF lead would be short lived, however, as a trio of defensive miscues saw the Cougars take advantage with four runs on two hits in the fourth.
The Knights struck back in the bottom-half of the frame with a lead-off single by Jeramy Matos (1-for-4, 1 R) followed by Bret Gordon (3-for-4, 1 R) smacking the first pitch he saw down the right-field line for an RBI double. Austin Johnston (1-for-3, 1 RBI) would further cut into the lead with an RBI grounder before the frame came to a close.
After Lively left the game in the sixth, his teammates picked him up with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, which turned out to be the difference in the game. UCF took advantage of a wild pitch with Johnston at third to tie the game followed by another late-inning RBI double by James Vasquez (1-for-4, 1 RBI) to score the game-winning run in Hempe from second.
In the top of the ninth, Davis would give up a leadoff single and see the runner take second on a sacrifice bunt. The Woodlands, Texas, native would not be bothered by Landon Appling aboard as he registered a strikeout looking and a grounder to first base to secure the victory.
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.