May 11, 2014
By Dan Forcella
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF baseball team scored seven runs in the seventh inning to defeat visiting Presbyterian by a score of 11-2 on Senior Day at Jay Berman Field. The no. 26-ranked Knights (32-20) earned their ninth weekend series victory of the season.
After UCF extended its lead to 8-2 with four runs in the bottom of the seventh, lone senior Bret Gordon stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded. Coming into Sunday with only 35 at-bats on the campaign, Gordon went out with a bang, hitting a base-clearing double down the left field line in the final home appearance of his career.
I can't tell you what happened between the swing and getting to second base, Gordon said of the moment. Getting a hit like that in the first place [is special], but then as your last at-bat, at home in front of these fans, that doesn't happen every day. It's something you just have to take in and embrace.
That was awesome. That was really great, Head Coach Terry Rooney said of Gordon's double. Bret Gordon has meant a lot to our program the last two years. It's above and beyond what he did on the field. His leadership to all of the guys has been great. Bret Gordon is the epitome of the student-athlete.
Gordon's three-run double put an exclamation point on UCF's victory, but with 12 hits from nine different players, a number of Knights were contributing from the plate on Sunday.
I'm extremely happy with the way the guys responded, Rooney said of Sunday's effort. Today was a big game for us. With as disappointed as we were yesterday, we talked about a few things to get back to playing with the confidence and the energy level that we want to play at. The guys did a great job and today was the epitome of a team win.
Tommy Williams, who ended the day three-for-four, drove in three runs of his own on a triple to right field earlier in the Knights' big seventh inning.
After allowing Presbyterian (17-33-1) to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, UCF responded nicely with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. James Vasquez led things off with a towering homer to right field, his sixth of the season. A trio of singles, a fielder's choice, and a sac fly from JoMarcos Woods gave the Knights the lead back, at 4-2.
Starting pitcher Spencer Davis allowed two runs on five hits in three innings before getting pulled for Jarrod Petree in the top of the fourth. Petree (4-0) then gave the Knights four solid innings of relief, allowing just three hits and striking out three in four innings of shutout baseball.
Jarrod Petree was an incredible star for us today, said Rooney. He did an awesome job. He held everything in check and put up some zeroes. Petree did a tremendous job.
Robby Howell and Vinnie Rosace came in for an inning each in the eighth and ninth, respectively, allowing just one hit between them to close it out. Rosace was given some help on the defensive end when Dalton Duty gunned out Jacob Midkiff attempting to score from second on a single.
UCF scored 11 runs on 12 hits and no errors. Williams had three hits with three runs batted in and two runs scored to lead the way. Vasquez went two-for-three with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Presbyterian scored two runs on nine hits and two errors. Trey Hayes (0-4) picked up the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Brandon Paul led the Blue Hose at the plate with a three-for-four effort.
The Knights will get right back into action with a busy week ahead. UCF hits the road to end the regular season, playing at Florida State Tuesday at 1 p.m. before closing things out with a three-game American Athletic Conference series at UConn Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
In the next four games, every game matters, Rooney said of the upcoming week. We're going down to the last week of the regular season and we have an opportunity to win a championship, and an opportunity to solidify ourselves as an at large team.