Knights' power hitters help take Marshall series
Published: Sunday, May 22, 2011
Updated: Sunday, May 22, 2011 18:05
Trailing by three runs and staring a series loss to rival Marshall in the face, the Knights saved their best for the late innings.
UCF (36-20, 12-12) scored six runs in the eighth inning to earn a comeback win in a 13-10 slugfest on Friday. Four players homered in the seventh inning of Game Three, guiding UCF to an 8-1 win in the regular season finale on Saturday.
"It was a great win today," head coach Terry Rooney said Saturday in a release. "And the guys certainly bounced back [from Thursday's loss] to play two outstanding ballgames."
The offense backed senior Chase Bradford, who started the last home game of his UCF career in the series finale. Bradford gave up one run and struck out a career-high nine batters.
"Marshall has a great offense, but Coach Rooney told us what to do today and that was to put them away with two strikes, and I was able to do that," Bradford said in a release.
Bradford improved his record to 6-1.
"Chase Bradford threw a tremendous ballgame," Rooney said in a release. "He did a great job, and it probably was his best outing of his career here at UCF. This was an awesome way for our seniors to go out. The entire team wanted to go out on a strong note for all of our seniors. They are a great group of guys, and it's exciting to see them have their most successful year since they came to UCF."
Darnell Sweeney, Ronnie Richardson and Beau Taylor hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the seventh, marking the first time in UCF history that three consecutive players homered.
Marshall (20-31, 7-17) scored its only run in the first inning off of two singles but UCF immediately tied the game when Taylor reached base on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Sweeney and Richardson each picked up RBI in the fifth when UCF scored two runs off of four-straight singles, and Griffin led off the sixth with his first home run of two.
Griffin, who went 3-for-4 on Saturday, leads C-USA with 16 homers.
On Friday, senior Johnny Sedlock earned the 13-10 win after he entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings, striking out two.
The lead changed six times in Game Two.
It wasn't until the eighth inning, when Marshall and UCF combined for 10 runs, that the Knights finally grabbed the lead for good.
Down by three, the Knights quickly loaded the bases, and Erik Hempe scored on a passed ball. UCF loaded the bases again and scored two on Richardson's double down the left field line.
Sweeney came home on a wild pitch to give UCF the lead, Taylor knocked in Richardson with a single and Griffin's RBI double finished off UCF's six-run winning inning.
Marshall took Game One of the series on Thursday when Aaron Blair and Josh King combined to give up four hits and no runs as the Herd shut out UCF 6-0.
"I felt like we seemed a little bit slow," Rooney said in a release. "We just didn't have the extra step tonight."
Brian Adkins gave up all six runs and took the loss.
The Herd scored one run in the first before plating four runs on four hits in the third.
Marshall's Gray Stafford added a solo home run in the fifth for insurance.
UCF enters the C-USA Championship as the No. 4 seed, finishing in a three-way tie with Memphis and Houston with a 12-12 conference record.
The Knights will face Memphis on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the C-USA tournament in Pearl, Miss., followed by games against UAB on Thursday and Rice on Friday.
The C-USA championship will be held Saturday at 8 p.m.