April 1, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Kicking off a four-game road trip, the UCF baseball team won its third-consecutive midweek game and ninth-straight contest overall with an 8-4 victory over North Florida at Dusty Rhodes Field at Harmon Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Knights (18-12) got their stretch of seven-of-eight games away from home started on the right foot as they outhit the Ospreys (14-15), 16-9. Five batters recorded at least two hits for UCF, including freshman Brooks Morgan. The Gainesville native was added to the lineup late after warm-ups were complete and made the most of his opportunity.
I thought our guys did a good job at the plate, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. Most importantly, what our hitters did is they adjusted as the nine innings went on. Brooks did an awesome job. We talk a lot about work ethic and confidence. When you have both of those things it prepares you for your opportunity. He went in there and was a huge part of this win both on offense and defense.
It was Morgan's first start of the season at second base and finished his day 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. He also flashed some nice leather with an excellent backhand web gem in the ninth.
Sophomore Ryan Meyer made his first-career start and was equal parts efficient and effective. Working quickly and attacking the strike zone, the Oviedo native allowed just three hits and one earned run in 4.2 innings pitched. Meyer struck out a pair and did not walk a batter in the no decision.
Junior Joe Marotta (1-1) earned his first victory as a Knight after he came in with a runner on and two outs in the fifth and finished off the frame with a strikeout to become the pitcher of record. The Port Saint Lucie native struck out two more in the sixth and now has 21 punch outs in just 13.2 innings this season.
First of all, I want to say how incredible Ryan Meyer was tonight, Marotta said. He gave me the opportunity because he showed the curve ball was working. That helped me get ahead of guys. I work with Coach Rooney every day and I'm blessed to get the opportunity to help this team win.
UCF jumped on North Florida early with three runs in the first two frames. An RBI single by junior James Vasquez (1-4) and a sacrifice fly by junior Sam Tolleson (1-4) put the Knights ahead 2-0 in the first. Junior Dylan Moore (2-5) extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI groundout in the second.
Junior Jordan Savinon finished his night with a career-best four hits, including an RBI single in the sixth. The Clearwater native also showed off his arm by making a strong throw to second to nail a would-be base stealer in the sixth.
The Black and Gold took advantage of a UNF miscue to plate a pair in the seventh. With two on and none out, Vasquez dropped a surprise sacrifice bunt in front of the plate. North Florida's catcher sailed his throw into right field which allowed both runners to score unearned and put UCF up 6-1.
North Florida attempted to rally back with three runs in the late innings, but junior Erik Barber put it away for UCF in the top of the eighth with a two-run double into the left-field corner. The Lakeland native leads the squad in doubles (9) and RBIs (28).
UCF will practice Wednesday and Thursday before traveling down I-4 for its first American Athletic Conference road series at USF. The Bulls are currently two games behind the Knights for first place in The American standings. First pitch on Friday in Tampa is set for 7 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.