March 11, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Despite a new single-game record of 3,953 fans packing the UCF baseball complex, the Knights suffered an 11-10 loss to No. 2 Florida State on Tuesday evening. The offensively charged contest saw the two teams combine for 27 hits and 21 runs.
The back-and-forth affair featured four ties and four lead changes with momentum seeming to shift every inning. The Knights (7-10) had the tying run at second and the game-winning run at first in the bottom of the ninth inning with just one out, but their final comeback bid came up short after a strikeout and groundout ended the game.
I thought the atmosphere tonight was great, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. It was a great crowd. We talk all the time about UCF being Orlando's baseball team. This is what college baseball is all about. It was a great game. It was intense and exciting.
With fans still swarming through the gates, the Seminoles secured an early 3-0 lead after the top of the first off UCF starter Tanner Olson. The Ferndale, Wash., native settled down over the next two innings, which enabled the Knights to climb back into it with a three spot of their own in the home half of the third.
Looking to catch the Seminoles (13-2) defense off guard with runners on the corners and one out, junior JoMarcos Woods dropped down a squeeze bunt and raced down the line for a base hit to allow UCF to score its first run. The Black and Gold was not done. Junior Erik Barber followed with a RBI single to right center and junior Tommy Williams tied things at 3-3 on a fielder's choice.
It would not stay tied for long. After a pair of singles and a walk filled the bags in the bottom of the fourth, Barber pulled a 1-0 offering into the left-field corner for a bases-clearing double which caused the UCF fans to erupt on a 6-3 lead. The Lakeland native finished his evening 3-for-6 with a four RBIs, extending his team-high total to 17.
The guy came at me first with a curve ball, Barber said. I told myself if he came with a fastball on the next pitch I was going to be ready to jump on it. It was right in my zone and I was able to turn on it down the line.
With the game tied at six in the top bottom of the fifth, freshman Matt Diorio drilled a 1-1 pitch onto the party deck in right for his first-career home run. The Staten Island, N.Y., native finished his day 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. UCF would extend its lead by adding two more in the sixth on a pair of RBI singles by juniors Sam Tolleson and Jordan Savinon.
Florida State would battle back with three in the seventh and two in the eighth off the Knights' bullpen to take an 11-9 lead into the final frame. Freshman Trent Thompson (0-3) was hit with the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in two innings of work.
Trailing by two in the bottom of the ninth, Woods, who extended his hitting streak to eight earlier in the game, drew a one-out walk off Seminoles closer Jameis Winston. Woods was then moved to second on a single by Barber and came around to score on an RBI single by junior James Vasquez. Vazquez, who extended his own hitting streak to seven, was 2-for-4 with a run scored and walk. It was the first run of the season allowed by Winston, and just the second and third hits given up.
UCF and Florida State will conclude their two-game set tomorrow at 4 p.m. Starters for both teams are still to-be-determined.
To purchase season or single-game tickets, visit our Baseball Ticket Central page, or call the UCFAA Sales & Service Office at (407) UCF-1000. Stay up-to-date on all the latest baseball news by visiting UCFKnights.com and by following the team on Twitter @UCF_Baseball, Facebook and Instagram.