- April 14, 2016
The UCF Knights arrived in Storrs, Conn. needing to build momentum at UConn heading toward the American Athletic Conference playoffs. Instead they left with three straight losses, two low-scorers bookending a slugfest sandwich.
That slugfest in game two, a 15-8 loss, was a would-be 8-6 win as the Knights sent regular starting pitcher Trent Thompson into the eighth inning as a reliever to preserve the lead after the Knights had already spent three pitchers getting there.
Then a tense narrow-lead situation exploded. The Huskies, who had only managed six runs on 10 hits up to that point, plated nine runs off the next six hits, despite leaving the bases loaded.
With only three outs left to mount a seven-run comeback, the Knights managed just a solitary hit before the Huskies (28-22, 11-9) closed out the game.
That end to the madness of the second game also put an end to the Knights’ scoring for the series. Having relinquished their chance of taking the three-game series with the loss, the Knights managed just five hits in the finale, stranding four runners in the final three innings of the 3-0 loss.
For the Knights (25-28, 8-13), one series remains between them and the AAC Championship tournament. They’ll host East Carolina (31-19-1, 12-8-1), which is a game and a half out of first place in the AAC.
The Tars lost the first two games of their final series of the regular season by a combined total of 20-7. Their last eight losses had been by an average margin of nearly seven runs. With two losses against the top team in the Sunshine State Conference, the odds were against the Tars.
The upset win that followed put a hopeful exclamation point on a regular season that began with promise but saw struggles to the end. The Tars’ regular season ended Saturday with their record at 24-25 overall, and their conference record, the second worst in the SSC, at 8-16. Their final conference win would be against a team they hadn’t beaten since the final series of the season last year.
Despite the domination that would be visited upon them by Tampa in the first two games, the Tars had the upper hand of the finale from the outset. By the end of the second inning they were up 2-0. They would hang five runs, six hits, and five walks on Tampa’s middle relievers.
The Tars’ hurlers would strike out 10 in the game, while their bats put together a continuous lead that would end the final inning with 5-3 on the scoreboard, ending the regular season on an unexpected high note.
Despite the win, that closes out the season for the Tars. The SSC’s top three teams — Tampa, Nova Southeastern and Florida Southern — head to the NCAA Division II South Regional.
It’s spring football season for one weekend as local high school teams show off what their upcoming classes will look like this fall.
The Edgewater Eagles will travel for their spring football game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at Mt. Dora.
The Winter Park Wildcats will host Oak Ridge at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Showalter Field.