With a huge grand slam from junior infielder Austin Griffin in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Knights were able to overcome an early deficit to beat Cornell 8-3 Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field.
"My teammates keep getting me into that spot with the bases loaded and I keep coming through,” Griffin said. “We don’t quit. We have got a lot of tough guys over there and a lot of guys that like to battle and grind it out.”
With UCF down 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Junior outfielder Eugene Vazquez led off the inning with a double to get things started.
A walk and a bunt for a hit got the bases loaded for Griffin. He then was able to work a 3-1 count, finding a pitch he liked, blasting it over the center-field fence for his third grand slam of the season.
After a three-run first inning by Cornell, UCF junior right-handed pitcher Robby Howell responded with six and two-thirds of shutout baseball to pick up his fifth win of the season.
“We played great defense,” Howell said. ”It’s easy to go deep in a game when you are turning three or four double plays in a game.”
Junior left-handed pitcher Drew Faintich and freshman right-handed pitcher Thaddeus Ward came in as relief, getting the final four outs of the game while not surrendering a hit.
The Knights chipped away at the Cornell lead before getting the go-ahead homerun from Griffin. Putting up a run in five consecutive innings, UCF was able to build a comfortable lead to clinch the series win against the Big Red.
“Today I felt like offensively, I think we had a little bit of something to us,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “It was the first time in a couple games that we had some swagger. I thought that our guys did a really good job."
UCF will go for the series sweep of Cornell tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Jay Bergman Field.
Matthew Saunders is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. You can follow him on Twitter at @ClassicSmit and email him at MatthewS@CentralFloridaFuture.com