Last night, the UCF Knights came to town to play the #20 Florida Gators for one game. Due to prior commitments and meetings I had to attend to during the evening, I was only able to catch the sixth and seventh innings of the game. When I got there it was 1-1 in the sixth inning with the bases full of Gators and two outs. Unfortunately, the Gators could not capitalize on this opportunity as UCF's pitching induced a ground ball to get out of the jam. Sophomore Danny Young made quick work of the Knights in the top of the seventh inning with the only threat being a deep fly ball hit by Knights DH Erik Barber.
In the bottom of the frame, freshman Buddy Reed drew a walk on four pitches and was then moved over by a bunt by junior Josh Tobias. With one out, sophomore Richie Martin drew a walk which brought junior Casey Turgeon to the plate. After working the count to 3-2, Turgeon smoked a ball to third base. Knights third baseman, Kam Gellinger, fielded the ball, tagged third, and fired the ball to first in an attempt to complete the double play and get out of the inning. But Turgeon's hustle allowed him to just beat out the throw and it was first and second with two outs. Up next was the dangerous Taylor Gushue, who had already hit a home run way back in the first inning. Gushue kept the ball in the yard this time, in fact he didn't even need to hit it, as the junior drew a walk to load the bases. It was now Zach Powers time to shine and the junior delivered with a four pitch walk.
After the Gators took the lead, junior Braden Mattson provided some insurance runs as he hit a two run single. It was at that point that I had to leave due to my intramural football game at 10 p.m. on the other side of campus. After I left, the Gators tacked on one more run on a Jordan Shafer single. The junior class did a great job at bringing home the runs for the Gators in this game. Walks played a big role in the rally as four Gators were issued free passes during the seventh inning. Giving up four runs this late in the game proved too much for the Knights to overcome and they went down without much of a fight to end the game.
True freshman Logan Shore was the starting pitcher in the contest and was very impressive. He gave up just one run over 5.1 innings and struck out four batters but was given a no decision. Danny Young received the win as the lefty pitched 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and struck out two batters. Braden Mattson is my offensive MVP for this game as he had two hits and came up clutch in the seventh inning with two RBI's to break the game open.
The Gators (3-1) are back on the diamond tonight as they take on the UNF Ospreys (2-1) at 7 p.m. The Knights, now 3-1 themselves after losing to the Gators, head back to Orlando to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (2-2) at 7 p.m. on February 21.
*Stats accredited to Gatorzone.com