ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 9 UCF opened its series against Columbia with a 9-1 victory on Friday night. Sophomore Matt Diorio went 3-for-4 to pace the Knights and drove in one run. UCF totaled 13 hits during the contest.
The longest outing of the season was registered by senior right-handed pitcher Zach Rodgers, who went seven innings and posted five strikeouts. Senior lefty Parker Thomas recorded the final six outs of the contest and notched two punch outs.
Coming through with two runs driven in each were senior shortstop Dylan Moore, catcher Jordan Savinon and freshman second baseman Kyle Marsh. Senior third baseman Tommy Williams, center fielder Derrick Salberg, Savinon and Moore each picked up a pair of hits.
After Columbia took a 1-0 lead on a solo homer by Joe Falcone in the second inning, the Knights responded in the third to take a 2-1 advantage. Senior shortstop Dylan Moore drove in a run on a single to left and a second runner crossed the plate on a fielding miscue.
The Knights stretched their lead to 3-1 in the fifth on a sac fly to right field by Moore that scored Salberg, who singled through the right side earlier in the frame.
Two more runs were tacked on in the sixth inning after UCF loaded the bases with senior right fielder Erik Barber being hit by a pitch and Diorio and Williams notching singles through the infield. Marsh tallied a sacrifice fly before senior first baseman James Vasquez came up with a single to center, 5-1.
UCF took advantage of a mistake in the seventh and totaled four runs on three hits to take a 9-1 lead. Diorio singled home the first run in senior left fielder JoMarcos Woods, who started the rally with a walk.
A double down the left field line from Marsh pushed a run across the plate and moved two runners into scoring position. Savinon capitalized on the opportunity with a base hit down the right field line.
The loss was handed to the Lions' starter George Tahanopoulous, who went 5.1 innings and fanned four batters. David Vandercook and Falcone each recorded two hits.
UCF and Columbia continue the series on Saturday with freshman righty Cre Finfrock going up against Kevin Roy.