Clearwater, Fla. – The UCF baseball team is semifinal bound after an offensive explosion on Thursday, beating Memphis 17-1 in seven innings in the second round of the American Athletic Conference Championship.
Josh Crouch started the game with a bang for the second straight game. He hit a homer to left field giving the Knights a quick 2-0 lead. Alex Freeland and Nick Romano jumped into the action in the second and went back to back making the game 4-0. Memphis would get one back in the top of the third, however.
After not scoring in the third, UCF scored two more runs on an RBI single by Andrew Brait and a passed ball that plated Freeland.
UCF pitching was outstanding in game two of the Championship. Starter Jack Sinclair went six innings, allowing one run, five hits, and striking out four batters.
The offense then erupted in the fifth inning. Crouch got it all started with his second home run of the day. Tom Josten then followed it up with an inside the park homer to dead center. It was the second time UCF had back to back jacks on the day. Romano then plated his second RBI of the day pushing the score to 9-1. Brait then scored Romano with a single. Gephry Pena then hit a moonshot to center field for a two run bomb making the score 12-1.
Romano tacked on his third RBI of the day in the sixth which brought the Knights lead to 13-1. Then Jordan Rathbone hit a grand slam making the score 17-1.
Freshman Nick Vieira entered the game from the bullpen in the seventh, tossed an inning of scoreless baseball, retiring the Tigers in order to end the game by mercy rule.
No. 5 UCF (30-28) – 17, No. 8 Memphis (18-38) – 1
Winning Pitcher: Jack Sinclair (5-5)
Losing Pitcher: Chris Durham (3-7)
Top Pitcher: Jack Sinclair (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 K)
Top Hitter: Josh Crouch (2-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B), Gephry Pena (2-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R), Andrew Brait (2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R), Nick Romano (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)
- The seven home runs from the Knights offense sets the American Athletic Conference record for home runs in a single game, which was previously set at four.
- UCF's nine home runs also sets the record for the most homers by a team in the AAC Championship. The previous record was seven.
- Jordan Rathbone's sixth inning grand slam marks his 16th homer of the year. The accolade is tied for fifth all time; Chad Ehrnsberger achieved the feat in 2001.
- Each of UCF's nine starters recorded at least one hit in the ballgame.
- The 2-0 start to the Knights AAC Championship marks the first time since 2014 that UCF started a conference tournament 2-0.
The Knights will now face the winner of ECU/Memphis at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Fla. in the semifinal round of the American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday at 9 a.m.
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL CAN BE FOUND HERE
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