Feb. 15, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – Fueled by a nine-run third inning, the UCF baseball team clinched its opening weekend series against Siena with an 11-4 victory on Saturday afternoon at the UCF baseball complex. The Knights (2-0) brought 13 batters to the plate and racked up eight hits in their highest-scoring inning of the young season.
Freshman Kam Gellinger got the explosion started by opening his collegiate career in memorable fashion. With one on and one out in the third, the Cape Coral native lifted a 1-1 pitch over the fence and onto the party deck in right field for a two-run homer in his first career at-bat. Gellinger had a flawless afternoon at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored.
“The third inning was the difference in the game,” head coach Terry Rooney said. “We put together some great at bats. Some guys are swinging the bat really well. We got some clutch hits when we needed it and a couple of big two out hits again. Overall, the score is what it is, I’m very pleased that we won but we have to keep getting better in every aspect of the game.”
Making his UCF debut as a starter, junior Spencer Davis scattered five hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two runs charged against him. Davis, who made 28 relief appearances last season, retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced in route to earning the victory.
Following up Davis' five frames was junior Tanner Olson who tossed 1.2 innings in his season debut. Olson was backed by junior Joe Marotta who dazzled with three strikeouts in 1.1 hitless frames, and sophomore Tyler Martin wrapped it up with a 1-2-3 ninth including a strikeout.
“My slider was working well,” Marotta said after the game. “I wanted to strikeout the side the second inning, but I couldn’t put the last hitter away. Whatever situation Coach Rooney wants to me to pitch in, I thrive on that.”
Trailing 2-0 in the third, Gellinger’s shot to right set up the huge frame for the Black and Gold, as six-straight one-out singles kept the inning going, highlighted by the go-ahead two-run base knock from junior James Vasquez. With two down and UCF now ahead 6-2, junior Erik Barber tacked on a two-run double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to exit the third with a 9-2 cushion. Barber has racked up four hits, including three doubles, in nine at bats thus far.
After the Saints cut it to 9-4 in the seventh, the Knights collected a pair of insurance runs in the bottom half for the final 11-4 margin.
The series concludes Sunday with rookie Robby Howell on the mound for the Knights. Howell will become the first freshman to make an opening weekend start for UCF since 2009. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
To purchase season or single-game tickets, visit our Baseball Ticket Central page, or call the UCFAA Sales & Service Office at (407) UCF-1000. Stay up-to-date on all the latest baseball news by visiting UCFKnights.com and by following the team on Twitter @UCF_Baseball, Facebook and Instagram.