UCF tops Presbyterian in rubber game
Rogers ties school record with 27th-career save for Knights
ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 13 Central Florida parlayed 13 hits and stellar pitching into its 11th weekend-series victory of the season on Monday afternoon after a 7-2 triumph against Presbyterian.
The Knights (38-11) bounced back from Sunday's loss with starting pitcher Chris Matulis improving his record to 6-0 after going 5.2 innings while allowing six hits, one run, four walks and tying a career-high with seven strikeouts.
After Bryan Brown made his 72nd-career appearance in 1.1 innings, Joe Rogers took the mound in a 5-2 game with no outs in the eighth to notch his 10th save of the season, and 27th as a Knight. He is now tied with Jason Arnold (1998-01) for the most saves in school history.
Offensively, UCF's bats were effective all afternoon as five Knights recorded multiple-hit games. They were led by Darnell Sweeney who came through with a 2-for-4, three RBI day while hitting ninth for the first time this year.
"The guys deserve the credit and responded from what was a tough and disappointing loss for our baseball program," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said. "The guys came back and responded with a resilient toughness. They found a way to get it done."
After Matulis surrendered just his first homer of the year -- and his only run of the game -- in the top of the second, UCF responded in the bottom-half with a two-out single through the left side by Sweeney to tie the game.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead after James Vasquez (1-for-2) hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Presbyterian worked the bases loaded in the top of the fifth on Matulis, only to see the junior work out of the one-out jam by getting a swinging strikeout and flyout to right field.
Overall, UCF stranded 12 Blue Hose runners on the base paths Monday.
Sweeney added to his RBI total for the day with a clutch two-out two-run single into center field in the bottom of the sixth inning to drive home Vasquez and Ryan Breen. Jeramy Matos also stepped up with a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to push the UCF lead to 5-1.
In the eighth, Ronnie Richardson, who tied the school record (55) in hit-by-pitches after getting plunked to lead off the seventh, smacked a RBI double down the left-field line to plate Breen in the eighth. That set up D.J. Hicks for a sacrifice fly to right field and his 62nd RBI of the season..
With the rain pouring down, Rogers came back on the mound after a nine-pitch eighth inning and shut the door on the Blue Hose with a strikeout, lineout to Sweeney and grounder to Hicks.