With a second consecutive walk-off defeat, the UCF baseball season came to an end on May 21.
The American Athletic Conference Tournament was last week and UCF lost its first two games of the double elimination tournament, both by one run following walk-off singles.
Coming into the tournament, UCF (31-27) was the No. 7 seed in the AAC based on a regular season conference record of 10-14.
The Knights' first game of the tournament was against No. 2 East Carolina, and UCF sent First Team All-Conference selection Zach Rodgers to the mound for the start.
The game was tied until a two-run single by Dylan Moore put the Knights up 3-1 in the seventh inning. ECU would keep a steady offensive approach for the last three innings, scoring a run in each, while UCF's offense stalled at three.
With the score tied 3-3 in the ninth, the Knights were able to keep the game knotted as they threw out the potential winning run at the plate for the second out.
ECU's next at-bat, a single by Charlie Yorgen, brought the Knights to their knees as it drove in the game-winning run to end it 4-3.
"It's a tough loss, but the kids really competed, they really battled," UCF head coach Terry Rooney told UCF athletics. "The guys competed like crazy, and East Carolina, give them credit, they played a little bit better than us."
Rodgers threw a complete game for UCF and received his first loss of the season to move to 10-1. The senior struck out four and walked one, but gave up 11 hits in 8.2 innings. He compiled a 17-2 record with a 1.80 ERA during his two-year Knights' career.
"Zach Rodgers is a warrior, he's a bulldog," Rooney said. "I can tell you that he's one of the greatest pitchers that I've ever pitched and one of the best that UCF has seen."
In its second game of the tournament, UCF played the No. 6 seed UConn Huskies and fell on a walk-off single — this time, in 11 innings.
Cre Finfrock was the chosen starter for Rooney's club and the freshman went 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits while walking four batters.
UCF scored two runs in the second inning to get out to an early 2-0 lead, but found itself trailing 3-2 after UConn posted runs in the second, sixth and seventh innings.
Dylan Moore would try to be the hero for UCF's offense, hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning to knot the score at three. The senior ended the tournament with three hits, a walk and four RBIs.
After Harrison Hukari came out of the bullpen for UCF and ended the seventh inning, Robby Howell would go the rest of the way for the Knights. Howell, mainly a starter for UCF, threw three scoreless frames, but the offense just couldn't find an extra spark to score a run.
The Huskies finally broke through on Howell and scored a run in the 11th, effectively ending UCF baseball's 2015 season as it was not chosen by the NCAA selection committee to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
East Carolina wound up winning the American Athletic Tournament. Houston, USF and Tulane were chosen from the AAC by the selection committee for at-large bids.
Colin Bell is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.