CLEARWATER. FL – The No 2 seeded University of Central Florida Knights jumped on No 7 seeded UConn pitching for six runs in the bottom of the second inning and cruised to a 7 – 1 victory in game one of the American Athletic Baseball Championship at Brighthouse Field in Clearwater.
Zach Rodgers started for UCF turning in a complete game, throwing 119 pitches, scattering five hits, and allowed one earned run. He struck out five and walked on and improves to 7-1 on the year. Anthony Marzi took the loss for UConn.
After scoring a run in the first inning when UCF’s Dylan Moore scored on a sacrifice fly, an opportunistic Knights team exploded for six runs with two outs in the second, taking advantage of a UConn error and four hits, sending 11 batters to the plate.
From there, Zach Rodgers who has been used in a variety of roles for the Knights this year, took control of the game allowing just two UConn batters past first base the rest of the way.
“Good way to get the week started. Whatever coach wants me to do I’ll do, I just wanted to do my job,” said Rodgers after the win. ” I definitely wanted to finish it and coach came out told me to make sure I slow the game down and focus on the next hitter.”
“It was good win today and Zach Rodgers did a great job with complete game, but it was a great team win. I thought our guys were focused though out the game. We talk about staying in the moment, playing every single pitch and we did that today. Great teams take advantage, and don’t give, this team has a great work ethic and and have always remained confident,” said UCF head coach Terry Rooney. ” When we struggled earl yin the season, I said I wanted two things from our team. Work hard and stay confident and I think when you possess those two qualities, you can take advantage of opportunities. ”
“You have to tip your hat to them they took advantage of every opportunity in that second inning, “said UConn head coach Jim Penders. “At the same time I’m proud of our team and the way they finished the game, Zach Rodgers was very tough today. We had opportunities, but you have to have short memories in this game and we will come back tomorrow and play hard against Houston, “added Penders.
Derrick Salberg and James Vasquez had two RBI each for the Knights. Andrew Zapata pitched five scoreless innings for UConn in relief of Marzi , allowing just one hit.
UCF will get ready for Temple in Thursdays 7PM game. UConn will play Houston at 11AM