ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com)– On a beautiful Central Florida evening with temperatures in the low 80s, all 1,844 fans at the UCF baseball complex were treated to gem as the Knights (4-2) topped Texas Tech, 13-8, on the second day of the Wawa Weekend Classic.
UCF busted out for 18 hits, the most since 20 against Florida A&M on April 10, 2012, as five Knights had multiple-hit games. Junior RHP Danny Davis (2-0) rode the offensive outburst to his second win of the season, tossing five innings while allowing six hits, four runs and striking out four.
“From a team standpoint, tonight was a great challenge,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “We got off to a good start, and the guys responded. It took a lot of different guys to contribute to that win. I thought tonight was the epitome of us hanging in there and displaying some toughness and composure late in the game to get a very good win over a very good team in Texas Tech.”
UCF closes out the three-day tournament Sunday at 3 p.m. against former Atlantic Sun rival, Troy. The last time the two teams met on the diamond was in 2005. All tournament links can be found at the Wawa Weekend Classic page.
From the first pitch of the night, UCF showed off its defensive prowess as Erik Hempe (1-for-4, 2 RBI) made a diving grab on the first play of the night followed by a highlight-reel catch in the second, robbing Texas Tech’s Tyler Neslony of a potential home run. The Anaheim, Calif., native made a break and leaped against the newly trimmed fence to save the ball from reaching the outfield deck.
The offense was no slouch either, plating nine runs in the first three innings of the game, and scoring in seven of eight innings at the dish over the course of the contest.
Centerfielder JoMarcos Woods (1-for-4, 1 RBI) wasted no time extending his hit streak to eight games with a lead-off triple, the team’s first of the year. Hempe promptly drove him in with a SAC fly for his first-of-two RBI on the evening.
After Chris Taladay (2-for-5, 1 RBI) took an 0-2 pitch to right field, and Austin Johnston (1-for-3, 1 R) was plunked for the fourth time this year, James Vasquez (3-for-5, 3 RBI) worked a 3-2 count and delivered with a home run over the right-field deck for three crucial 2-out RBI.
In the second, catcher Ryan Breen (4-for-5, 1 RBI) would add another 2-out run to the board with a double to deep centerfield to score Jeramy Matos (2-for-4, 3 RBI), who led the frame off with a double. In total, the Knights had eight two-strike hits and scored five two-out runs.
The Red Raiders (4-2) would bounce back in a big way, though. Facing a 5-0 deficit in the third inning, the visitors used a five-hit, four-run frame to make it a one-run contest.
UCF never panicked, responding with a four-spot of its own in the bottom of the third, including a Parker Webster (1-for-4) 2-strike RBI single followed by a monstrous three-run homer by Matos to left field. The Lake Worth native has now homered in two-straight contests.
The Knights kept their scoring binge going in the fifth as Tommy Williams (2-for-4, 1 R) joined the party with his first-career triple off the top of the left-field wall and was driven home by Woods’ sacrifice fly to right.
In the bottom of the sixth, Taladay notched his first homer of the year, turning on a 1-2 pitch and sending it well over the right-field wall. It marked the first three-homer game for the Knights since the Coral Gables Regional Championship on June 4, 2012.
The trio of LHP Harrison Hukari, RHP Zac Favre and LHP Chris Matulis would close out the game for the Knights on the mound. Matulis finished the final three innings of work with five strikeouts, earning his second-career save as a Knight.
Season tickets can be purchased by calling 407-UCF-1000 or visit the baseball tickets page. Stay up-to-date on all the latest news by visiting UCFAthletics.com and following the team on Twitter (@UCF_Baseball) and Facebook.