Feb. 25, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andrew Jennette
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - Junior James Vasquez came through in the clutch with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the 10th to lift the Knights to a 5-3 victory over Jacksonville at John Sessions Stadium on Tuesday night. The win was the first road triumph of the season for UCF.
Junior Zach Rodgers pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first victory as a Knight. The final three outs for the Glendale, Ariz., native did not come without drama as the Dolphins (1-6) loaded the bases with just one out in the frame. However, Rodgers finished the job with a strikeout followed by a ground out.
"It feels great to get that first win under my belt," Rodgers said. "Honestly, I know I have a great defense behind me so I just try and pound the strike zone and get ground balls. Not walking people keeps your pitch count down so it's just important to keep throwing strikes."
The Knights (6-2) get the next two days off before heading to Oxford, Miss., to take on No. 24 Ole Miss in a three-game, non-conference weekend series.
Before his late heroics, Vasquez extended his hitting streak to five games with a fourth-inning single. That mark tied the longest hit streak by a Knight this year. The Palm City native went 3-for-5 overall and raised his average to .321 for the season.
"I've really tried the last week or so to just not do too much at the plate," Vasquez said. "It sounds simple, but I just want to put good swings on the ball. We all put in a lot of hard work in the cages and want to hit the ball hard somewhere."
Trailing 1-0 in the third inning, junior Jordan Savinon got the scoring started for the Black and Gold with a solo home run to right. The Clearwater native added a double and scored a pair of runs in addition to his long ball. Savinon also picked up his first caught stealing of the 2014 campaign by easily throwing out a would-be base stealer in the seventh.
UCF used a pair of similar hustle plays to take and then extend its lead in the middle innings. With runners on first and third and one out in the fourth, junior Erik Barber raced down the line on a ground ball to avoid a possible 4-6-3 double play and pick up his team-leading ninth RBI. The very next inning, junior Derrick Salberg also earned an RBI on a fielder's choice by using his speed to stay out of a potential 6-4-3 inning-ender.
The Knights made several strong defense plays during the contest. In the bottom of the first, Jacksonville ripped a double off the wall with a man on, but a perfect relay throw from Salberg to Tommy Williams to Savinon nailed the runner at the plate to save a run. The defensive play of the game, however, came off the glove of freshman Kam Gellinger. The Cape Coral native made a sliding stop and throw from his third base spot and was aided by a slick scoop from Vasquez.
A total of six pitchers were used by UCF. Freshman Vinnie Rosace tossed two innings in his first-career start and he was backed by Tyler Martin, Zac Favre, Trent Thompson, Parker Thomas and Rodgers. Overall the Knights' pen allowed just two runs over eight innings.
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.