Baseball Returns to Win Column with 12-9 Victory over USF

ORLANDO – The UCF baseball team (17-11, 1-2) secured its first American Athletic Conference win of the year over South Florida (12-16, 2-1) to avoid the weekend sweep on Sunday at John Euliano Park. The Knights returned to the win column with a 12-9 victory over the Bulls after dropping five straight games.

The Bulls opened the scoring, knocking in three runs on three singles in the first inning to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

Ben McCabe tied the game in the third inning with a three-run home run that score Cole Russo, who was hit by a pitch, and Tom Josten, who singled. This was McCabe's 11th home run of the season and the 41st of his career, tying him for 3rd place all-time with Dustin Brisson.

The Bulls regained their three-run lead in the fifth inning, plating one on an error and then two more on a 2-RBI single from designated hitter Rafael Betancourt Jr.

The Knights broke out in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five to take their first lead of the series. Andrew Brait singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch to get in scoring position. McCabe drew a four-pitch walk and Nick Romano moved the runners with a single to left field, scoring Brait. Andrew Sundean drew another four-pitch walk to load the bases. Lex Boedicker was hit by a pitch to bring us back within one, notching an RBI. A Drew Faurot sacrifice fly scored the tying sixth run as Romano came home. Russo finished off the scoring in the fifth with a towering two-run double down the left field line, bringing home Sundean and Boedicker for the 8-6 lead.

Boedicker drove in McCabe from second base on a single into left center field for the Knights' ninth run in the bottom of the sixth.

USF scored two more in the top of the seventh on another RBI single, this time from Marcus Brodil, and then Brodil scored on a wild pitch to make it an 8-9 ballgame.

In the bottom of the seventh, Josten walked to reach base for the second time and then scored on a wild pitch for double digits. McCabe, who had reached on a fielder's choice, and Romano, who walked, scored from first and second as Sundean hit a two-RBI double to left field to bring the score to 12-8.

The Bulls' first baseman Daniel Cantu hit a home run to left field bring in the final run of the contest.

Kyle Kramer shut the door on South Florida, striking out four of the final five hitters and earning his seventh save of the season. With the save, Kramer brought his career total to 13 to take sole possession of 7th place all-time in career saves.

The Knights improved to 17-11 on the season with the win and look to extend their winning streak as they go on the road.

The Knights go on the road for their next five games, making their first stop at #11 Miami for a midweek matchup in Coral Gables, Fla. UCF then travels to #8 ECU for their first conference weekend slate on the road in Greenville, N.C. on April 6-8. The two teams will face off Thursday (6 p.m.), Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (12 p.m.), before the Knights return to the home state to take on Stetson in DeLand, Fla. on Tuesday, April 11.