CLEARWATER, Fla. – UCF Baseball (35-25) took the Houston Cougars (37-23) to the ropes on Saturday, forcing an, if necessary, game, before falling to the Cougars in the semifinals. UCF walked off the first game in the bottom of the 10th 9-8, forcing game two 45 minutes after.
Game one was a back-and-forth event, as Houston jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. The Knights sent nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning scoring four runs, highlighted by Michael Brooks, two-RBI, sacrifice fly to center field.
Houston responded in the top of the fifth, tying the ballgame, before Tom Josten lead off the bottom half of the sixth with a home run of his own. The Knights scored two more to extend the lead to 7-4 on Lex Boedicker's single to left field. The Cougars continued to claw their way back, adding a run in the seventh, before Brooks hit his second sacrifice fly to left to score Josten.
The Cougars tied the ballgame in the ninth, before UCF put two runners on to start the bottom half of the 10th. Gephry Pena played hero, doubling down the line in left to walk off game one and force the second game.
In game two, Houston once again jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, the Knights responded with a home run from Alex Freeland and Ben McCabe to level the score. Both teams traded scoreless innings, before Houston regained the lead in the top of the fifth. In the bottom half, UCF once again tied the ballgame, as Alex Freeland hit his second home run of the night.
In the sixth, UCF grabbed the lead back, as McCabe homered for the second time in game two, third time today, and Gephry Pena singled up the middle to push the lead to 6-4. Houston ties the ballgame in the eighth on a double off the third base bag, before hitting a three-run home run in the ninth to seal the deal.
SCORING MOMENTS – GAME ONE
TOP 1st | HOU 1 – UCF 0 | Houston opens the scoring in the top half.
TOP 4th | HOU 3 – UCF 0 | Houston increases the lead in the fourth.
BOTTOM 4th | HOU 3 – UCF 4 | Noah Orlando flies out to center field to score Gephry Pena from third. Ben McCabe doubles to left center to score Freeland from second. Michael Brooks flies out to deep center field to score Tom Josten and McCabe.
TOP 5th | HOU 4 – UCF 4 | Houston ties the ballgame in the fifth.
BOTTOM 6th | HOU 4 – UCF 7 | Tom Josten hits a home run to right center. Lex Boedicker singles to left field to score Brooks from second.
TOP 7th | HOU 6 – UCF 7 | Cougars get two back on a two-run home run.
BOTTOM 7th | HOU 6 – UCF 8 | Brooks flied out to left field to score Josten from third.
TOP 9th | HOU 8 – UCF 8 | Houston ties the game on a two-run home run to left field.
BOTTOM 10th | HOU 8 – UCF 9 | Gephry Pena doubled down the line in left to score John Montes from second.
SCORING MOMENTS – GAME TWO
TOP 1st | HOU 3 – UCF 0 | Houston gets on the board to open game two.
BOTTOM 1st | HOU 3 – UCF 3 | Alex Freeland hits a solo home run to right center field. Ben McCabe hits a two-run home run to left field.
TOP 5th | HOU 4 – UCF 3 | Houston regains the lead in the fifth.
BOTTOM 5th | HOU 4 – UCF 4 | Alex Freeland hits a solo home run to left field.
BOTTOM 6th | HOU 4 – UCF 6 | Ben McCabe hits a solo home run to left field. Gephry Pena singles up the middle to score Andrew Sundean from second.
TOP 8th | HOU 6 – UCF 6 | Houston ties the game in the eighth.
TOP 9th | HOU 9 – UCF 6 | Houston takes the lead in the ninth.
- Andrew Sundean set a new AAC Tournament record, collecting five doubles during the Knights five games.
- UCF won 35+ games for the fourth time in five full seasons under head coach Greg Lovelady.
- Ben McCabe and Alex Freeland, both had multi home run game in game two.