TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- UCF got to the Florida State pitching staff early, scoring two runs in the first and four in the third, as the Knights defeated the No. 4 Seminoles 8-3 Tuesday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. The Knights avenged a pair of losses to the Seminoles in Orlando back in March with the triumph.
“Tremendous effort all the way around,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “Today was the epitome of a team win. So many different pitchers contributed and a lot of different guys at the plate took advantage of opportunities, had quality at-bats throughout the day. Overall, it was a tremendous game.”
The Knights were ready from the start, scoring a pair of runs on two walks and two doubles in the first. James Vasquez drove in Erik Barber with a double off the fence in right-center, and Matt Diorio brought Tommy Williams home with a double to left-center two batters later.
The Noles got one back in the bottom of the first, but UCF extended its lead to 6-1 with four runs in the top of the third. Dylan Moore led off the inning with a home run over the left field wall, the first of his career, and Derrick Salberg singled before FSU finally went to the pen for the first time.
Reliever Peter Miller didn’t have much more success than starter Alec Byrd, as he walked Vasquez, and gave up an RBI single to Williams right off the bat. Diorio then drove in his second and third runs of the game with a double to right-center to make it 6-1 in favor of the Knights.
“Scoring first helps. I think any coach will tell you that,” Rooney said. “This was an important game for us in the bigger picture of what we’re trying to do and the guys knew it. No other motivation was needed.”
UCF used six pitchers with none going more than two and a third innings to hold off the Seminoles in the 8-3 win. After starter Ryan Meyer allowed just one unearned run on one hit in one and a third, four of the five Knight relievers that followed held FSU without a run.
Robby Howell (2-1) earned the win after allowing no hits in one and two thirds innings of shutout baseball. Jarrod Petree, Parker Thomas, and Zach Rodgers also put up zeroes, with Rodgers going two and a third to close it out.
“It was by design,” Rooney said of the staff. “We wanted to throw a lot of different guys. First and foremost we wanted to win today and I felt throwing a lot of different looks would give us the best opportunity to do that. Those guys did a great job today.”
Moore and Salberg finished with three hits each at the front of the UCF lineup, while Diorio ended up two-for-five with three runs driven in. Vasquez added two hits an RBI and a run scored for the Knights.
UCF finished with eight runs on 12 hits and one error, while the Seminoles totaled three runs on six hits and one error. Byrd (1-1) allowed four runs on four hits in the loss.