March 9, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Nearly one year to the day after undergoing Tommy John surgery, redshirt freshman Jarrod Petree earned his first-career victory as the UCF baseball team defeated Central Michigan, 5-4, in the weekend series finale on Sunday at the baseball complex.
Petree, who went under the knife on March 7, 2013, pitched 1.1 innings scoreless innings of relief. The Apopka native struck out the side in the top of the fifth and has racked up six K's in his last two outings.
It was heartbreaking to get hurt in my debut last year, but it feels great to be back, Petree said. A few guys on the team last year, Chris Matulis and Erik Hempe, had the surgery before and were able to help talk me through things and really stay positive throughout the rehab process. I felt good today, and we all did what we needed to do on championship Sunday.
The Knights (7-9) used a total of six pitchers to top the Chippewas (6-9) on a beautiful afternoon for baseball. Junior RHP Zach Rodgers made his first-career weekend start and dazzled over three scoreless innings before giving way to the pen.
A series of young relievers, freshmen Vinnie Rosace, Petree, Robby Howell and Trent Thompson along with sophomore Tyler Martin, were each effective as none allowed an earned run over the final five frames. Thompson earned his team-leading second save after finishing out the ninth.
Obviously on championship Sunday it's about the bottom line, head coach Terry Rooney said. I'm extremely proud of the guys. These guys have remained positive, remained confident and kept working. These guys deserve all the credit. The chemistry and work ethic on this team is fantastic. The guys never got down on themselves. I'm really happy with the way they performed today.
Juniors JoMarcos Woods and James Vasquez were able to extend their hit streaks to six games each in the victory. Woods finished his afternoon 1-for-3 with a sac hit, run scored and stolen base. Vasquez continued to be red shot at the plate, going 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored. Both players were strong in series as Woods hit .417 (5-for-12) while Vasquez came in at a .400 clip (4-for-10) over the three matchups.
UCF took the lead early on an RBI single by freshman Brooks Morgan in the second inning. It was the Gainesville native's second-consecutive game with an RBI. The eventual game-winning hit was provided by junior Erik Barber who dropped an RBI single into left that scored Woods in the bottom of the 7th. Barber, hitting in the three spot for the first time this season, was 2-for-3 on the day and increased his team lead in RBIs to 13.
Junior Dylan Moore was 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the fourth. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native knocked in a run in each game of the series to go along with five total hits.
The Knights will now turn their attention to a pair of midweek contests as they host No. 2 Florida State on Tuesday (6:30 p.m.) and Wednesday (4 p.m.) at the UCF baseball complex. The last time the Black and Gold battled the Seminoles in Orlando, a two-day total of 5,851 fans - UCF's largest crowd for a series - packed the park.
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