It was no ordinary night of baseball on Wednesday at Jay Bergman Field as the Knights hosted and fell to the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes in 5-2 fashion.
After a shaky first inning caused by a suspected blown call on a steal attempt by the Hurricanes which was called safe at second, head coach Terry Rooney sprinted out of the dugout to argue the call made by the second base umpire. Getting up and in his face, Rooney was livid with disbelief. Careful enough not to cross any lines, Rooney walked back to his bench and watched Miami score two runs as a result of the steal called safe.
"The message is that we need to simply play the game of baseball better," Rooney said. "Message number two is I'm not going to accept losing. Now you focus on the process and you can't focus on wins and loses. You have to focus on getting better."
Later in the game, when the Knights managed to rally back and finally get some offense going thanks to RBIs by juniors third baseman Kam Gellinger and right fielder Eugene Vazquez, defense picked up and pitching met fatigue. UCF's middle junior infielders, shortstop Brennan Bozeman and second baseman Ryan Crile made great acrobatic plays worthy of being web-gems on ESPN's Top-10.
"Terrific defense. Some big time plays and some big time pitches. Juan pitched great," Rooney said.
Junior right-handed pitcher Juan Pimentel pitched four and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits, three runs, four walks while striking out seven.
In a situation where Miami was preparing to score, Crile in the fourth inning dove to his right to stop a ball and madea throw in time to get the runner at first to end the threat. Later in the game, Bozeman decided to fly across the clay, arms and legs fully extended, to get a second crucial out in the top of the fifth. Double plays were also in abundance as redshirt senior left-handed pitcher Harrison Hukari turned a ground ball into a 4-6-3 double play.
Even though defense was plentiful, hits in key situations were not. Leaving eight men on base and racking up only eight hits, UCF had trouble starting a late game comeback when Miami retook the lead earlier in the game and adding more runs during an eighth inning that produced a run, a couple pitching changes for UCF and a stadium-wide blackout.
After a 20 minute delay and a mass exodus of concerned fans, the game resumed with the stadium emptied compared to its original crowd size. UCF failed to execute in the later part of the game and fell to the Hurricanes, bringing the Knights's record to 10-8.
"You credit Miami because they got out of situations," Rooney said. "The margin of error in college baseball is not big."
UCF will take on Brown at 6:30 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field tomorrow to try and get back on track.
Evan Abramson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. You can follow him on Twitter at @Evan_Abramson and email him at EvanA@centralfloridafuture.com.