No. 19 UCF suffers another one run loss, this time to No. 10 Miami
Hurricanes prevail in Orlando, 3-2, as Knights strand six runners
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012 07:03
No. 19 UCF (13-5) dropped its fourth one-run loss of the year to No. 10 Miami (14-3) in a 3-2 pitcher’s duel that featured an ejection, a clearing of the benches and a few diving catches, among other things.
The game-clinching run came for the Hurricanes in the eighth inning after closer Joe Rogers was called on to pitch for the Knights with runners on the corners and one out.
UCF right fielder Alex Friedrich made a diving catch on a line drive and was able to double up the runner at first, but a Miami runner came in to score before the final out was recorded, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.
The Knights had a chance to tie the game in the ninth with a runner on second and one out, but were unable to bring the tying run in, striking out and grounding out to end the game.
“We got the tying run on the field and obviously the winning run at the plate… and that’s all you can ask for,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “Our guys battled and we put ourselves in position to do that, and I’m very proud of them for that. Miami won because they played better fundamental baseball than us and we have to keep getting better at it.”
Senior Ray Hanson started on the mound for UCF. The righty threw five innings, gave up one unearned run and struck out four.
Junior relief pitcher Roman Madrid was given the loss for the Knights after giving up two runs on 2-1/3 innings pitched.
Both UCF and Miami totaled eight hits on the night, but the difference was in UCF’s six men left-on-base, compared to Miami’s three.
“I feel like whenever we face top teams like Miami it takes us a little while to get ours bats going,” Friedrich said. “We’ve got to start from inning one… and try to get to the bullpen early.”
Tensions mounted in the fourth inning after Miami catcher Peter O’Brien ran over UCF catcher Ryan Breen at the plate. Friedrich made the throw from right field, giving Breen plenty of time to wait for the incoming runner. O’Brien was thrown out trying to knock the ball loose, and was ejected from the game.
O’Brien was ejected for making no attempt to slide on the play, a violation of NCAA rules.
“I just had the ball and I was waiting for him and that’s a big kid,” Breen said. “The rule is in college baseball that you have to slide and he didn’t slide.”
Friedrich threw a second-straight runner out at home the next play, receiving much less contact from the runner than the sequence before.
The loss is UCF’s fourth by a margin of one run this season. The Knights’ only loss by more than one run came in Gainesville, when the Gators beat UCF 8-0.
“These teams, Florida State and Miami, they’re playing a little bit better than us – it is what it is,” Rooney said. “So for us to get where we need to get to, we need to play a little bit better.”
UCF is scheduled to host Harvard for a three-game series this weekend, starting Friday at 6:30 p.m.