March 22, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Powered by a five-run sixth inning, the UCF baseball team clinched its first American Athletic Conference series with a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over Cincinnati on Saturday evening at the UCF baseball complex.
Cincinnati's starting pitcher was very good, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. He did a nice job and had a very good arm. We hung in there and put some quality at bats together late and found a way to win.
The Knights (12-12, 2-0 The American) batted around in the sixth with junior Jordan Savinon putting UCF on top for good with a two-run single. The Clearwater native finished his day 2-for-3 with a career-high three RBIs. Junior Erik Barber broke the game open later in the frame with a double that plated two more and put the Black and Gold up by four runs. The Lakeland native leads the team in both doubles (8) and RBIs (22).
Trailing 1-0 in the home half of the second inning, junior Sam Tolleson ripped a lead-off solo home run down the line in left field. The Houston native joined Tommy Williams as the only Knights to hit multiple homers so far this season.
When I started this season I had a really complicated swing, Tolleson said. I've simplified things down to see the ball, hit the ball hard. I've been working with the coaches and they keep telling me to just relax up there. On the home run, the pitch was low and in and I just kind of scooped it out.
Tolleson has become a fixture in the UCF lineup and has 10 hits in his last four starts, raising his batting average 107 points to .345.
Sam has done a great job, Rooney said. We've been kind of mixing around our lineup for a while in two or three spots with the hopes that someone would emerge. Baseball is a game of opportunities and it's a matter of what you do with it. We were hoping someone would step up and flourish and Sam's obviously done that. Since we put him in there he's had a lot of quality at bats.
The Bearcats (8-13, 0-2) retook the lead with a run in the third and maintained their one-run advantage over the next three innings before UCF's rally in the sixth. The Knights added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by Savinon.
Freshman Jarrod Petree (2-0) earned his second victory of the season after tossing one scoreless inning of relief. The Apopka native has now spun six-straight scoreless outings. Junior Zach Rodgers earned his first-collegiate save after escaping a based-loaded, none out situation in the ninth inning. The Glendale native induced three fly ball outs to seal the victory.
Junior Spencer Davis earned a no-decision after allowing three hits and two runs (one earned) to go along with six strikeouts.
UCF will look for the sweep as the series concludes tomorrow with a Sunday matinee beginning at 1 p.m.
Ten-game voucher packages are now on sale for only $50. Select the games that you want to attend for a discounted price. Voucher packages and single-game tickets can be purchased at our Baseball Ticket Central page, or by calling the UCFAA Sales & Service Office at (407) UCF-1000. Stay up-to-date on all the latest baseball news by following the team on Twitter @UCF_Baseball, Facebook and Instagram.