April 27, 2014
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - One of the mantras of the No. 22 UCF baseball team is to win the last three and the squad did just that on Sunday afternoon as it outscored Rutgers 6-1 over the final three frames en route to a 10-3 victory over the Scarlet Knights at the baseball complex.
The Knights (28-16, 15-3) maintained their 2.5-game lead in the American Athletic Conference and finished their home schedule 11-1 in league play with the win. Since starting the year 9-12, the Black and Gold is 19-4 in its last 25 games, has won seven straight weekend series and have three conference weekend sweeps.
What a great weekend, head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. These guys did a tremendous job all the way through and grinded out three very intense games of baseball. Today we needed to focus on playing the game a little bit better fundamentally than we did yesterday and I thought we executed a lot better. I never question the resiliency or the toughness of this team.
The offense put the game out of reach with a four spot in the bottom of the eighth. After back-to-back walks by freshman Kam Gellinger (1-for-3, 1 R) and junior JoMarcos Woods (1-for-1, 1 RBI, 2 BB), junior Dylan Moore roped a two-run double into the gap in left center. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native had a stuffed box score as he went 2-for-5 with two RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.
Junior Sam Tolleson stepped in after Moore and hammered a 1-0 pitch deep into the pine trees beyond the wall in left for his third home run of the season. Tolleson, who entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement, still managed to go 2-for-2 at the dish on the afternoon.
UCF's defense played nearly as well as its offense, highlighted by a spectacular running catch against the wall in center by junior Derrick Salberg. The Kelso, Wash., native crashed into the fence at full speed in the top of the eighth and saw his cap and sunglasses land on home run side of the wall. Salberg, who also went 2-for-4 with an RBI at the plate, held onto the ball all the way through and got a standing ovation from the crowd for his effort.
The ball was hit well and the wind was blowing out, Salberg said. Sam said I had room, but I don't think he realized close the wall was. I caught it, took a step, and was right in the fence. Thanks to the fans who gave me my hat and glasses back.
Redshirt freshman Jarrod Petree (3-0) earned the victory after allowing just one run in three innings out of the bullpen. Sophomore Zac Favre, however, came up with the biggest pitch of the game early in the contest. With the Scarlet Knights (19-21, 6-8) already up 1-0 in the top of the first and the bases loaded, Favre was tabbed out of the pen to replace starter Spencer Davis and he escaped the jam in just one pitch by inducing a 4-6-3 double play.
Freshman Matt Diorio put the Knights ahead in the home half of the first inning with a two-run double just inside the foul line in left field. The Staten Island, N.Y., native now has 11 RBIs in his 17 starts as the designated hitter.
Trent Thompson continued to be a big factor for the Black and Gold out of the bullpen. The Tampa native tossed two more scoreless frames and lowered his ERA to a season-best 2.39.
UCF will get the next two days off before returning to the field for midweek action against in-state rival North Florida. Wednesday night's matchup with the Ospreys will serve as the fourth "Dollar Dog Knight" of 2014. Fans in attendance can enjoy $1 hot dogs all game long. To purchase individual game tickets for Wednesday click here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1208324?brand=ucf
Single-game tickets for the five remaining home contests can be purchased 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.