May 14, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
BOCA RATON, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite a pair of solo home runs by sophomore first baseman James Vasquez, including one in the ninth inning, the UCF baseball team fell to Florida Atlantic, 4-3, Tuesday night in the final midweek contest of the season.
The Knights (28-25) will now travel to Greenville, N.C., for their final weekend series in Conference USA against East Carolina. Beginning Thursday, the two teams will square off in an ultra-tight battle in the league standings that has UCF currently in a tie for third with the Pirates. The 11 a.m. Saturday series finale will air nationwide on Fox Sports Net.
Looking to avenge its 10-2 loss to the Owls (32-20) from April 16 in Orlando, UCF jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning after Vasquez smacked a 1-2 pitch over the right-center wall in the second inning and Bret Gordon (2-for-4, 1 RBI) doubled home Chris Taladay (1-for-4, 1 R) in the fourth.
FAU would ride the long ball to its advantage in the bottom of the fourth as catcher Levi Meyer drove the first pitch he saw over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer and a 3-2 lead against starter Eric Skoglund (1-4).
In the fifth, UCF had a prime opportunity to strike back with the bases loaded and just one out. FAU would turn to LHP Bo Logan (5-1) out of the pen who got the Owls out of the jam with two quick outs and went on to retire 11 of the 12 batters he faced.
The Owls saw their lead expand by another run in the sixth frame when Corey Keller blasted the first pitch of the at-bat well over the left-field fence for a 4-2 advantage.
UCF would not go down quite in the ninth inning as Vasquez teed off for the second time in the game to right-center to bring the Knights within one. It was the eighth dinger of the year for the Palm City native which ties him for the team and conference lead.
The final frame continued as Austin Johnston (2-for-4) laced his second hit of the night into the left-center gap and dove into second base for his 10th double of the year. Erik Barber would pinch run for the senior, but would be stranded as FAU closer Hugh Adams locked down his 14th save of the year with a strikeout to end the game.