Knights hammer B-CU 16-5
Published: Sunday, June 5, 2011
Updated: Sunday, June 5, 2011 17:06
After two UCF errors botched the pitcher's duel that carried into the sixth inning, the Knights regained control with an eight-hit, eight-run attack in the seventh to take the lead and defeat Bethune-Cookman, 16-5, in Saturday's NCAA Tallahassee Regional elimination game.
The Knights and the Wildcats also endured a weather delay that started in the eighth inning and lasted for more than three hours.
"To be honest, early on we really didn't play fundamental baseball," head coach Terry Rooney said in a release. "I know it's hard to look back because it seems like 28 hours ago – but we didn't play fundamental baseball. Obviously we had the error in the outfield, there was a bunt or two that we didn't get down. But the point being is that our guys, once again, we hung in there, hung in there with tremendous confidence all the way through."
Danny Winkler struck out six and gave up only two hits before Ryan Breen and Ronnie Richardson collided on a routine fly ball in the sixth and Breen overthrew second. Winkler couldn't shake it off and with two outs, the Wildcats loaded the bases and scored four unearned runs to take a one-run lead.
Bethune-Cookman's lead didn't last long.
Darnell Sweeney, Richardson, Beau Taylor and D.J. Hicks each singled to load the bases and bring home a run, and with no outs in the seventh, Jonathan Griffin once again produced for the Knights. His two-run double put UCF ahead for good. Derek Luciano added two runs to the board with a single and rounded the bases thanks to singles from Breen and Travis Shreve. Sweeney and Richardson each batted a second time in the inning, and both grounded out, though Sweeney knock in another run.
Bethune-Cookman put one run on the board in the seventh, a solo shot off of winning pitcher Nick Cicio (4-2), but the southpaw induced two more outs. The Knights went on to score four more runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to cap their win.
The first half of the game couldn't have been anymore different than the second half, as Winkler and Bethune-Cookman starter Rayan Gonzalez fought a pitcher's duel. Gonzalez pitched six innings and fanned eight UCF batters, giving up eight hits but only three runs. Neither pitchers ended up with a decision.
"I commanded my fastball and with their starter going and pitching like he was he just kept me in it like I should be in a nothing to nothing ballgame," Winkler said in a release. "I was pitching out of the zone like I have been pitching all month."
Winkler said he was trying too hard to make a perfect pitch to get the final strikeout of the sixth inning.
"I kind of felt the momentum was flying towards their side an obviously with the hit it was," Winkler said. "For some reason when we get down we just wake up."
Florida State defeated Alabama in the winner's bracket game on Saturday. With Bethune-Cookman eliminated, UCF will face Alabama again in an elimination game. The winner of Sunday's 12 p.m. game will play the Seminoles at 6 p.m. If Florida State loses that game, a Monday-night game will be played to determine the Tallahassee Regional winner.