Orlando, Fla. – In the third contest with Memphis at John Euliano Park, the Knights offense exploded to propel UCF to victory on Saturday. The Knights move to 21-22 on the year after smacking 14 hits to plate 13 runs.
The Tigers took the first lead in the game, plating a run on the only UCF error of the game in the second inning.
The Knights promptly answered with two runs in the second inning, as Ben McCabe doubled to drive in Alex Freeland after he was hit by a pitch to start the half. Following up the double, Pablo Ruiz singled in McCabe to give UCF their first lead of the contest.
Memphis responded to the one run deficit in the fourth with a double and single of their own to even the game at two runs each. With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Nick Romano doubled to drive in two, putting the Black and Gold back in front. Andrew Brait provided a single to right, scoring Romano as UCF would take a 5-2 lead.
Once again, the Tigers offense answered UCF's runs, plating three runs on three hits, all singles, in the fifth to tie the game at five runs each. In the bottom half of the fifth, Ben McCabe hit a sac fly to left as Josh Crouch scored the go-ahead run for the Knights.
The UCF offense would pour it on in the late innings, scoring at least two runs in its last three at-bats. The Black and Gold plated two in the sixth from a Trent Taylor bunt single followed by a Josh Crouch RBI double. With three singles in the seventh, the Knights were able to take advantage of a pair of errors to add two more. For good measure, Gephry Pena and Alex Freeland opened the eighth with a couple of doubles, before Freeland was chased home on a Trent Taylor infield single.
With the lead in hand after the fifth inning, Hunter Patteson and Billy McKay came out of the bullpen to hold the Memphis offense in check. The duo combined for 4.0 IP, and just one earned run on just four hits.
Winning Pitcher: Ben Vespi (1-0)
Losing Pitcher: Bailey Wimberley (2-1)
Top Pitchers: Hunter Patteson (2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 K, 1 ER), Billy McKay (1.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB)
Top Hitters: Ben McCabe (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R), Nick Romano (1-2, 2B, BB, 2 RBI), Alex Freeland (2-3, 3 R, RBI), Andrew Brait (3-4, 2 RBI)
- With the victory, UCF evens the all-time series against Memphis, 24-24
- The Knights have scored 10+ runs 10 times this year and maintain an 8-2 record in those games.
- UCF's 12 runs in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader and 13 in Saturday's win is the first time with 10+ runs in back-to-back games since March 20-21 against Jacksonville.
- UCF was aggressive on the base paths as four Knights stole bases on the night. As a team, UCF has stolen 73 bases in 2021, ranking top 10 in the nation.
- Nick Romano's fourth inning double was his first extra base hit of the year.
- Ben McCabe's two RBI day propels him to 44 on the year to lead the Knights.
The Knights will look to seal the series victory with Memphis on Sunday at noon. UCF will then welcome Wichita State to John Euliano Park for a four game set next weekend, beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, May 6.
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