CHARLESTON, W. Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - Down to its last three outs trailing, 6-5, the No. 13 UCF baseball team rallied to score three runs on three hits in the top of the ninth to defeat Marshall in the opening contest of a three-game series at Appalachian Power Park.
In the victory, both Joe Rogers and Ronnie Richardson claimed school records to improve the Knights' season mark to 39-11 overall and pace Conference USA at 14-5. Rogers closed out his 28th-career save to break Jason Arnold's 11-year mark after striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
"We were down pretty much 90 percent of the game and a couple of big hits there got us up. I just wanted to do my part and pick the team up because the team picked us up today," Rogers said.
Richardson wasted no time in claiming the school record in hit-by-pitches when he led off the game with the 56th plunk of his career. The Eagle Lake native dethroned former teammate Shane Brown (2007-2010) from atop the record books.
The three-run deficit the Knights faced after the fourth inning was the second-largest that they have overcome this year dating back to the East Carolina series when they won after trailing, 4-0.
After claiming its first win in Charleston since 2006 to improve its road record to 14-2, UCF and Marshall will square off in game two beginning at 2:05 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
UCF got on the scoreboard first when Darnell Sweeney recorded his fourth two-out RBI of the week with a single to score Ryan Breen. The Knights extended their early lead in the top of the third on a Jeramy Matos infield single to make it 2-0.
Marshall responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third and knocked out starter Ben Lively in the fourth after driving in four two-out runs on three hits. Eric Skoglund came into the game and promptly ended the frame with a strikeout. He would toss three innings of two hit ball to keep the Knights within striking distance.
Matos got UCF a run back in the top of the fifth after Alex Friedrich led off the frame with a single and advanced on a throwing error. The Palm Beach State College transfer sent a ball back up the middle for his 11th RBI this year.
In the bottom-half of the fifth, Breen had to exit the game after taking a foul ball off of his right wrist. Chris Taladay moved over to catch from third and Nick Carrillo took over at the hot corner.
Carrillo's entry to the ballgame would be key as he blasted a 3-1 fastball well over the right-field fence for his fourth homer of the year and first since March 9 against UMass.
Trailing 6-5, the ninth inning started with D.J. Hicks ripping a first-pitch fastball into right field for a single and Taladay notching a one-bagger through the left side for his second hit of the game. Friedrich would lay down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over and James Vasquez tied the contest with a sacrifice fly to score Hicks.
UCF took the lead after Marshall's shortstop pulled the first baseman off the bag and caused the ball to ricochet out of his glove allowing Taladay to score on a Matos grounder. Carrillo came back up following his homer in the previous inning and ripped a ball down the right-field line to score Matos after the Thundering Herd (15-33, 3-16) fielder muffed the exchange.
Roman Madrid earned his third win of the year after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless frames and gave way to Rogers in the ninth as he struck out the first two batters, surrendered a double and just his fifth walk of the year before striking out the final hitter looking on a 3-2 pitch.