ORLANDO, Fla. – Ben Vespi worked a career-high seven innings, striking out a career-high seven batters, earning the win Friday night, as UCF Baseball (25-16, 9-4) defeated Tulane (26-16-1, 8-5).
Vespi and Kyle Kramer combined to retire 15-striaght Green Wave batters, before a double in the ninth broke that streak. Kramer worked the final two innings, allowing one hit and struck out four batters to earn his fifth save of the season.
Tulane opened the scoring in the second, scoring after a leadoff doubled dropped into the gap in left center. Vespi would close the door on the inning, limiting the damage to one run, before striking out the final batter of the inning.
The Green Wave and UCF traded scoreless innings, unit the seventh when Ben McCabe singled to lead off the inning. Michael Brooks dropped down a two-strike sacrifice bunt down the third base line, forcing the third baseman to rush the throw over the head of the first basemen. Brooks reached second safely, and McCabe came around to tie the ballgame at one a side.
Trent Taylor moved Brooks to third with a sacrifice bunt of his own, before Pablo Ruiz stepped up to the plate. With two-out and two-strikes, Ruiz was able to loft one over the second baseman's head to score Brooks from third and give the Knights a 2-1 lead.
UCF will look to take the series tomorrow afternoon at John Euliano Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
TOP 2nd | TUL 1 – UCF 0 | Tulane opens the scoring in the second.
BOTTOM 7th | TUL 1 – UCF 2 | Michael Brooks reached on a throwing error by Tulane, scoring Ben McCabe from second. Pablo Ruiz singled to right to score Brooks from third.
- Ben Vespi posted his longest career outing Friday, breaking his previous career-high of six strikeouts with seven.
- Ben Vespi and Kyle Kramer combined for 15 straight retired before being broken up in the ninth with a double.
- Kyle Kramer earned his fifth save of the season, working the final two innings and striking out four.
- Pablo Ruiz drove in the game winning run Friday, singling to right field to break the 1-1 tie.
- UCF scored both its runs on Friday with two-outs, a theme that has stretched throughout the season.
UCF and Tulane will continue the three-game set tomorrow evening at John Euliano Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.