Feb. 23, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Lifted by a career-best four RBIs from Erik Barber, the UCF baseball team closed strong on the final day of the UCF Baseball Tournament with a 9-7 victory over The Citadel in front of 1,493 fans on Sunday at the UCF baseball complex.
Barber went 1-for-1 at the plate with a pair of walks and two run-producing sacrifice flies. The junior opened the scoring for the Knights (5-2) with a two-run double as part of a four-run first inning and now leads the team with eight RBIs. The Lakeland native knocked in just five runs in 17 starts a season ago, but has nearly doubled that total just two weeks into 2014.
"I'm most proud that the guys, after a tough loss on Friday night, bounced back and beat two very good ball clubs. It says a lot about the character of this team," head coach Terry Rooney said. "I thought Erik Barber did a really good job for us this weekend. He had some great at-bats for us today. He came through on some two-strike RBI opportunities and I thought he swung the bat really well for us."
Freshman Tanner Olson earned his first-career win after striking out three in two relief innings. The junior from Ferndale, Wash., got the Knights out of jam with two on in the top of the fifth by freezing a Bulldogs (2-5) hitter with an off-speed pitch for an inning-ending strikeout looking. Sophomore Tyler Martin pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first-career save.
Junior Derrick Salberg also set a new career-high by racking up four hits in a 4-for-5 effort to go along with three runs scored and a stolen base. The Kelso, Wash., native leads the team in both batting average (.400) and on-base percentage (.471) in his first year in the program.
"Salberg is hopefully going to continue to come into his own. He's a great athlete, the fastest guy on our team," Rooney said. "I think he has an opportunity to be a very special player. We put him in the two hole to create a little more offense and he's been doing that."
The Knights took advantage of a key Citadel miscue to break the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth. Leading 4-1, the Knights loaded the bases on a pair of walks by juniors JoMarcos Woods and Dylan Moore as well as an infield single by Salberg. Junior Tommy Williams stepped in and used his hustle to force an errant throw that sailed into right field on a grounder to third base. Williams was credited with an RBI on the infield single, and the error allowed the bases the clear and put UCF up 7-1.
Freshman Robby Howell, making his second-consecutive Sunday start, went 3.1 innings and allowed a pair of hits and one run to go along with three strikeouts. The Knights used a total of five relief pitchers to finish the game.
The Knights will take Monday off and prepare for their next road contest when they travel to in-state rival Jacksonville on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The matchup with the Dolphins is only meeting between the two squads this season.
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.