ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The No. 13 UCF baseball parlayed 13 hits and stellar pitching into its 11th weekend-series victory Monday afternoon in a 7-2 triumph over Presbyterian.
The Knights (38-11) bounced back from Sunday's loss with LHP Chris Matulis improving his record to 6-0 after going 5 2/3 innings while allowing six hits, one run, four walks and tying a career-high with seven strikeouts.
After senior Bryan Brown made his 72nd-career appearance in 1 1/3 innings, junior Joe Rogers took the mound in a 5-2 game with no outs in the eighth to notch his 10th save of the season, and 27th as a Knight. He is now tied with Jason Arnold (1998-01) for the most saves in school history.
Offensively, UCF's bats were effective all afternoon as five Knights recorded multiple-hit games. They were led by junior Darnell Sweeney who came through with a 2-for-4, three RBI day while hitting ninth for the first time this year.
"The guys deserve the credit and responded from what was a tough and disappointing loss for our baseball program," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said. "The guys came back and responded with a resilient toughness. They found a way to get it done."
The Knights will return to Conference USA play when they head to Charleston, W. Va., for weekend series with Marshall beginning Friday afternoon at 2:05 p.m.
After Matulis surrendered just his first homer of the year in the top of the second, UCF responded in the bottom-half with a two-out single through the left side by Sweeney to tie the game.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead after James Vasquez (1-for-2) hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Presbyterian worked the bases loaded in the top of the fifth on Matulis, only to see the junior from Boynton Beach work out of the one-out jam by getting a swinging strikeout and flyout to right field.
Overall, UCF stranded 12 Blue Hose runners on the base paths Monday.
Sweeney added to his RBI total for the day with a clutch two-out two-run single into center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive home Vasquez and Ryan Breen. Junior Jeramy Matos also stepped up with a two-out, 0-2 RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to push the UCF lead to 5-1.
In the eighth, junior Ronnie Richardson, who tied the school record (55) in hit-by-pitches after getting plunked to lead off the seventh, smacked a RBI double down the left-field line to plate Breen in the eighth. That set up D.J. Hicks for a sacrifice fly to right field and RBI No. 62 of 2012.
With the rain pouring down, Rogers came back on the mound after a nine-pitch eighth inning and shut the door on the Blue Hose with a strikeout, lineout to Sweeney and grounder to Hicks.
UCF In the Polls
While playing on Monday, the Knights stayed put at No. 13 in the latest NCBWA poll that came out. UCF also checked in at No. 16 in the Baseball America and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches' rankings and No. 17 by Collegiate Baseball.