ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Three UCF pitchers combined to give up only one run to No. 8 Florida State Wednesday, but the No. 18 Knights (10-4) were unable to get on the scoreboard in a 1-0 pitcher's duel in front of another packed stadium with 2,917 fans in attendance. The one run allowed was the fewest given up to the Seminoles (11-1) in the 28 games played between the two schools.
Before a two-day total of 5,851 spectators - UCF's largest crowd for a series - the Knights held FSU scoreless in 16 of 18 innings, but Tuesday's seven-run sixth and Jayce Boyd's solo home run in the fourth inning Wednesday were all the Seminoles needed for the series victory.
"We had great turnouts and great fans. Unfortunately we weren't able to win these games here with a great crowd," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. "I appreciate everyone who came out and saw two great college baseball teams in two one-run intense games. I hope all the people who were out here for the first time enjoyed their experience."
Making his first start of the season, senior RHP Ray Hanson (Long Beach, Calif.) gave the Knights another quality outing by a starter, going five innings with four strikeouts and surrendering the game's only run.
Early on, Hanson faced first-inning trouble, but was bailed out when third baseman Chris Taladay (Windermere, Fla.) caught a smoking liner and fired over to senior Travis Shreve (Auburn, Wash.) covering second base for the inning-ending double play.
Hanson continued to get defensive help from his teammates in the top of the fourth. After giving up the solo homer to Boyd, he induced a groundball to Darnell Sweeney (Miramar, Fla.) at short who turned the 6-4-3 inning-ending double play to limit the damage.
Junior lefty Chris Matulis (Boynton Beach, Fla.) relieved Hanson in the top of the sixth and entered in firing darts. Used exclusively as a starter so far in 2012, Matulis made his first relief appearance and sat down the Seminoles in order on two groundouts and a strikeout. He would finish the night with 1 2/3 innings scoreless to his name.
Fellow junior Joe Rogers followed Matulis, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his longest effort of the season. The southpaw from Winter Haven set down the first six Seminoles he faced and surrendered just one hit on the night.
His toughest at-bat came in the top of the ninth when he retired FSU's James Ramsey on the 14th pitch. Ramsey, a Preseason All-American, entered the game with a .588 batting average, but all three UCF pitchers held him to a 0-for-3 night.
The closest the Knights got to home plate was in the third inning when Sweeney reached on a bunt single and stole second and third to give him nine thefts on the year. After D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) walked, Taladay grounded out to second base to end the threat.
Overall, only three runners reached third base on the evening between the two teams. FSU used four pitchers in the shutout with Scott Sitz earning the win and Robert Benincasa saving his fourth game of the year.
UCF will have a quick turnaround as it hosts Massachusetts for a weekend series beginning Friday night at 6:30 p.m. The Knights are 4-3 all-time against the Minutemen with the two teams last meeting in 2007.
News and Notes:
-Hicks extended his hitting streak to eight games
-Sweeney continues to lead Conference USA with his nine steals
-Ronnie Richardson has now reached safely in all 14 games this season
-Freshman JoMarcos Woods made his first-career start in left field