May 12, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior Day for the UCF baseball team went according to script Sunday afternoon as the Knights won, 7-3, over Tulane in the final home contest of 2013. Six seniors started in the series finale and accounted for the win on the mound and all seven runs driven in.
Hometown native LHP Brian Adkins made his final home start in a black and gold uniform and went on to toss his fourth straight quality outing. He totaled six innings and scattered eight hits, three runs and tied a season high with five strikeouts, including No. 150 for his career in the first inning.
His fellow classmates picked up the offense with Chris Taladay leading the way on a 3-for-5 afternoon at the dish with four RBI. Austin Johnston (1-for-2, 2 RBI) drove in a pair while Erik Hempe (1-for-4, 1 RBI) left the yard for the third straight game.
"We did play well, and it all starts with Brian Adkins on the mound," head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. "He once against delivered for us. On Senior Day, one got the win for us, and all seven runs were driven in by seniors. That's awesome. Today was there day, and those guys rose up."
With the final Conference USA home game in school history in the books, the Knights (28-24, 12-9) will finish 2013 on the road. They have a meeting with Florida Atlantic Tuesday night prior to the regular-season finale at East Carolina starting Thursday.
UCF honored the 12 members who will be moving on after the season prior to the game with Adkins, Ryan Breen, Nick Carrillo, Gregg Cooke, Hempe, Johnston, Jeramy Matos, Chris Matulis, Shawn McDorman, Jimmy Reed, Taladay and student manager Josh Levine each receiving a framed jersey.
The Knights didn't waste any time piling up the early runs as Johnston hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning prior to Taladay getting a fortuitous bounce on a ball over the shortstop's head to plate two more in the third.
Tulane answered right back in the top of the fourth as Sean Potkay drove a pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run homer to cut into UCF's lead.
Hempe continue his recent assault on the ball in the fifth inning, driving a 1-1 pitch over the left-center fence to make it three straight games with a home run. He joined fellow senior Jeramy Matos as the only other Knight to hit one out in three straight, and his seventh dinger of the year gives him 14 for his career.
The Green Wave (27-25, 10-11) inched closer in the sixth inning after an RBI double with two outs, but Adkins saved the tying run by reaching out his glove to prevent the ball from going up the middle. After completing his sixth inning of work, it was all hugs from his teammates in the dugout as he finished his 47th start.
"It has been an honor to pitch in front of my family, and is something that has always been very important to me," Adkins said postgame. "I just can't say enough about this experience I have been blessed to have."
The senior showcase continued in the sixth and seventh innings as Taladay made the Green Wave pay again with a double to right-center that scored both Ryan Breen (1-for-3, 2 R) and Matos. Johnston drove in his second run of the afternoon in the seventh with a single past the diving glove of second baseman Bowen Woodson to plate James Vasquez and extend the lead to 7-3.
UCF received contributions from underclassmen RHPs Zac Favre and Spencer Davis. Favre made his 29th appearance of the year, fourth all-time in school history, and went two innings, while Davis closed the door by stranding a pair at second and third to secure the victory.