March 30, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Racking up a season-high 12 runs, the UCF baseball team won its eighth-consecutive game and earned its second-straight American Athletic Conference weekend sweep with a 12-5 victory over Temple on Sunday afternoon at the baseball complex.
The Knights (17-12, 6-0) are 6-0 in league play for the first time in program history and hold sole possession of first place in The American through two weeks of conference action.
We're really proud of the way the guys played this weekend, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. Overall from start to finish, it was a total team effort. Offense, defense and pitching we had lots of different contributions from Friday all the way through the ninth inning today. I thought the guys did a nice job.
Juniors Erik Barber and James Vasquez gave the fans a thrill in the second inning when they became the first Knights since Alex Friedrich and Nick Carrillo on March 9, 2012 to hit back-to-back home runs. Both players jumped on the first pitch they saw in their at-bats and hit no-doubters to left and right field, respectively.
The team is playing loose and everything seems to be working, Barber said. I've been lifting some balls into the outfield recently, but coming up short. In my first at bat, the pitcher got on me, I got jammed and popped it up. He came back in with a fastball up on my next at-bat and I was ready for it and didn't miss that one.
Barber finished his day 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a career-high four runs scored. UCF jumped on the Owls (7-13, 2-4) early with five runs in the first two frames. The Knights took advantage of two Temple miscues to plate a pair of unearned runs in the first before Barber and Vasquez' power display in the second gave UCF a 5-0 advantage.
Junior Sam Tolleson continued to shine since being inserted into the lineup as an everyday player. The Houston native went 3-for-3 with a career-best four RBIs. After Temple scored three to cut the lead down to 5-3, UCF's designated hitter extended the lead twice with a two-run single in the fourth and a second RBI single in the fifth. Tolleson has started the last nine games for the Knights and is hitting .500 (16-32) in that stretch.
Derrick Salberg remained hot at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. The Kelso, Wash., native leads the team with a .396 batting average. All ten hits for the Knights on the day came from their 2-3-4-5 hitters.
RHP Zach Rodgers (3-1) earned the win after allowing just one earned run in three innings of relief to go along with four strikeouts. Junior Spencer Davis got the start and received a no-decision after allowing three runs in three innings pitched.
UCF will get Monday off before hitting the road for midweek action against in-state rival North Florida on Tuesday. First pitch in Jacksonville is slated for 6 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.