April 6, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
TAMPA, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Tommy Williams hit a pair of two-run home runs that powered the UCF baseball team to a 6-3 victory, and 2-1 series win over South Florida on Sunday afternoon from the USF Baseball Stadium. The junior shortstop became the first Knight since James Vasquez on May 14, 2013 to smack two long balls in one game.
The Knights (20-13, 8-1 The American) remain at the top of the American Athletic Conference standings and improved to 13-2 in their last 15 games while the Bulls (18-14, 5-4) dropped to three games back.
Tommy's done a great job for us, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. One of the things we were hoping to get out of him was a little more power and the ability to drive the ball out of the yard. Tommy's done that. When he came back from summer ball he was stronger and more physical and we've seen it with his power.
Williams, the conference leader in homers with nine, got the Knights on the board first in the top of the second inning with his first big shot of the game. Freshman Matt Diorio (2-5) made his first start since March 12 and ripped a single through the right side to reach base. The Staten Island, N.Y. native was able to trot home when Williams hit a laser shot over the wall in left.
I was seeing it well today, Williams said. I got a couple of good pitches to hit and was able to put some strong swings on them. I was a little out in front the first at-bat, so I laid back, but I was still out in front. I didn't know if it was staying fair or not. The second one I knew was gone. I had the green light on 3-0, but took a strike. I knew I'd probably get another fastball and I was ready for it.
The Black and Gold broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning. Leading 2-1, Vasquez (1-3) dropped a single into centerfield and set the stage for Williams' second big fly of the afternoon. The North Palm Beach native was sitting dead red on a 3-1 pitch and absolutely crushed a no-doubter into the palm trees well beyond the wall in left.
Juniors JoMarcos Woods (1-3) and Dylan Moore (2-5) extended the Knights' lead in the inning with a pair of RBI singles. Woods slapped a 1-1 pitch through the right side to score freshman Kam Gellinger. Moore followed and showed off some tremendous hustle by beating out an infield single with a head-first slide into first base. That hustle allowed junior Jordan Savinon to race around and score all the way from second.
USF has a very good baseball team and a great program and there is a lot of mutual respect between both teams and coaching staffs, Rooney said. It not only tells about the competition between UCF and USF, but in the American Athletic Conference as a whole. This is an outstanding conference and every weekend is going to be like this. Great, intense games. I think competition is a great thing.
Junior Zach Rodgers (4-1) earned the win after he allowed just two hits and one run over five quality innings. The Glendale, Ariz., did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning and struck out five.
LHP Parker Thomas was strong in relief of Rodgers. The Richmond, Texas native tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and picked up a pair of strikeouts. Freshman Trent Thompson came in with one out in the ninth and earned a one-pitch save after inducing a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
UCF will get the next two days off before returning to the field for midweek action against in-state rival Miami. Wednesday night's matchup with the Hurricanes will serve as UCF's Pink in the Park game. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive pink shirts to promote breast cancer awareness. To purchase individual game tickets for Wednesday click here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1208324?brand=ucf
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.