Orlando, Fla – The UCF baseball team split its doubleheader in American Athletic Conference play on Friday afternoon. The Knights fell by run rule in seven innings to the Tigers, before bouncing back to pick up their 10th conference win in the night cap.
Game One | Memphis (13-26, 3-14 AAC) – 12, UCF (19-22, 9-8 AAC) – 2
The Knights jumped out to the early lead in the first inning, as leadoff batter Tom Josten drove a no-doubter over the right field wall on the second pitch he saw. Two pitches later, Jordan Rathbone also went deep to go back-to-back with Josten.
It was the only two runs the Knights would plate in the game, struggling to collect more than a single hit in an inning for the rest of the contest.
Memphis answered the call with a run in the top of the second and would take a 3-2 lead with a pair of runs in their half of the third. The Tigers jumped all over the UCF pitching staff and took advantage of defensive errors to plate nine runs in the fourth inning.
The Black and Gold saw an early end to the first game of the day, falling 12-2 in seven innings.
Winning Pitcher: Chris Durham (3-5)
Losing Pitcher: Kenny Serwa (L, 2-3)
Top Pitcher: Nick Vieira (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 K, 3 BB, 0 ER)
Top Hitters: Tom Josten (2-3, HR), Jordan Rathbone (1-3, HR)
Game Two | Memphis (13-27, 3-15 AAC) – 10, UCF (20-22, 10-8 AAC) – 12
In what would become a back-and-forth battle, UCF took the first lead in the contest thanks to the bats of Jordan Rathbone and Josh Crouch. On a 1-0 count, Rathbone slugged his second homer of the day and 10th of the 2021 season, which was followed up by Crouch with another homer to give UCF the early 2-0 lead.
Tom Josten and Gephry Pena also joined the home run party, each of them slugging three-run homers in the second inning to put the Knights up early in a big way, with an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers answered with three in the third, as the two teams began to trade runs in the middle of the game. UCF added another pair of runs thanks to back-to-back doubles from Alex Freeland and John Montes.
The Black and Gold plated another two important insurance runs in the seventh after Pablo Ruiz starts the inning with a triple and is driven in on another Alex Freeland RBI double. Freeland then plated a run on an Andrew Brait sac fly to deep center field.
Memphis added four runs in the sixth and another three in the eighth, taking advantage of errors from UCF's defense. But it was not enough as the Knights were able to hold off Memphis just long enough to secure the #SkinnerStrong Knight win.
Winning Pitcher: Zack Hunsicker (1-2)
Losing Pitcher: Carson Stinnett (2-4)
Top Pitcher: Zack Hunsicker (3.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 K), David Litchfield (2.0 IP, S, 1 ER)
Top Hitters: Jordan Rathbone (2-5, 2B, HR, 1 RBI), Gephry Pena (2-3, HR, 3 RBI), Alex Freeland (2-4, 2 RBI 2B), Josh Crouch (1-3, HR, RBI, 2 BB)
- The Knights now sit 23-24 all-time against the Tigers
- UCF combined for six home runs across the two games
- Jordan Rathbone and Tom Josten both added two big flys to their resumes. Rathbone is now second on the team with 10, second to Ben McCabe
- Gephry Pena drove in three RBI on in game two, just shy of his season-high of four
- With David Litchfield's game two save, he now has five on the year.
The two teams will continue the four-game series on Saturday, May 1 with first pitch set for 4 p.m. at John Euliano Park, before closing the series on Sunday at 12 p.m.
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