UCF sweeps three-game series
The Knights spring-boarded off a surprise trouncing of Miami last week to pounce on Cincinnati in their first district series, sweeping the Bearcats in three games last weekend.
Eric Skoglund pitched a two-hit start to hold the Bearcats to a 7-1 loss in the Knights’ debut game in the American Athletic Conference, dropping his ERA to 1.76 in the process.
Meanwhile the top of the Knights’ order went to work, with leadoff man Dylan Moore cranking out three hits and crossing the plate three times, with Derrick Salberg helping knock him in with four hits of his own. Salberg extended his hitting streak to 11 games with that performance.
Unfortunately for Salberg, that streak would end the very next game in a 7-4 comeback win. Salberg would put the ball in play four times in the game, but all landed in the gloves of Bearcats players.
Picking up the slack was a five-run barrage in the sixth inning to give the Knights the lead thanks to five hits and a few throwing errors that gave the Knights all the runs they’d need. Meanwhile Spencer Davis was making music on the mound with six strikeouts in 4 and 1/3 innings pitched while giving up just two runs. Jarrod Petree was in the right place at the right time, pitching the sixth and walking away with the win after retiring three batters.
Salberg decided to start up another hitting streak as the Knights tried for the sweep, smacking a single in the fifth. The Knights would score a run per inning in five of eight innings at the plate to slowly run away with the game. Erik Barber and Tommy Williams provided the fireworks with two solo shots in the game en route to a respective two and three RBI.
Zach Rodgers would pitch a scoreless one-hit, four-inning start before head coach Terry Rooney pulled him for Robby Howell, who promptly gave up two hits and a run before being pulled two outs later. The Knights would go on to win 5-1. Ryan Meyer, the only pitcher to draw a balk in the game, would come away with the win, his first.
As of this week, the Knights (13-12, 3-0) have never been defeated in their history in American Athletic Conference play. They were set to play Bethune Cookman in a non-conference game 6:30 p.m. at press time March 26. They’ll hit the diamond for a three-game homestand against Temple starting at 6:30 p.m. March 28, then 4 p.m. March 29 and 1 p.m. March 30. The Tigers are 7-10 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
Nine games into Sunshine State Conference play the Tars (12-14, 0-9) have yet to pick up a win. That includes a cumulative 23-6 trouncing they felt at the hands of Eckerd (19-6, 7-2) in a three-game-sweep loss in St. Petersburg last weekend.
The dismal start to SSC play puts the Tars at the bottom of the conference ladder, with second-worst team Saint Leo three games ahead.
The Tars continue their road trip with three games at Barry (17-11, 1-8) in Miami Shores, starting at 6 p.m. March 28, then 1 p.m. March 29, then 4 p.m. the same day. They’ll be back home to face Saint Leo (16-11, 0-6) at 6 p.m. April 2.