ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After an hour-and-a-half rain delay pushed the Friday night's first pitch to 8:02 p.m., the No. 18 UCF baseball team wasted no time in lighting up the scoreboard in a 16-4 victory over UMass. The Knights (11-4) put up runs in all but two innings at the UCF baseball complex.
In all, Friday night's contest featured 13 hits, six of the extra-base variety, and 12 strikeouts by Knights pitchers. Senior Alex Friedrich (Orlando, Fla.) tallied a career-best six RBI and went 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run doubles and a two-run homer to left center.
The Knights' strong offensive output aided sophomore Ben Lively in earning his team-leading third win of the season. Freshman Harrison Hukari (St. Petersburg, Fla.) relieved Lively in three innings work, racking up a career-best six strikeouts in his third appearance of 2012.
UCF and the Minutemen (0-1) will have a short turnaround with game two of the series set for Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The game started with a wild first inning. Lively tossed 30 pitches to get three outs while leaving three on base, and his teammates wasted no time in putting the game out of reach. They posted seven runs on three hits and two errors while sending 12 to the dish in the frame.
With the first three batters consecutively reaching on a walk, hit by pitch and error, junior Chris Taladay (Windermere, Fla.) continued his recent tear at the plate as he sent a shot up the middle to drive home both Darnell Sweeney (Miramar, Fla.) and Ronnie Richardson (Eagle Lake, Fla.). Senior Friedrich started his career night by smacking his first double down the left-field line two bring home two more in the frame.
A noteworthy rarity happened in the first inning as Richardson was plunked in both at-bats. The speedy centerfielder has been a ball magnet his entire career, having been hit 39 career times, including nine this season. He ranks No. 6 on the all-time list at UCF that features Shane Brown at the top with 55-career hit-by-pitches.
UCF continued its onslaught in the second as Friedrich jumped all over a 1-1 pitch and sent it to left-center to drive home his third and fourth RBI of the night. The University High School product has now bagged nine doubles on the year, all from the No. 7 spot in the lineup.
Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) added his 25th RBI of the season with a single up the middle in the third to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Hicks has a hit to his name in 13 of the 15 contests in 2012.
The sixth frame featured more fireworks off the bat of Friedrich, as he and Carrillo sent back-to-back shots out of the park to become the first pair of Knights to accomplish the feat in 2012. It was last done in 2011 at home against Marshall (5/21) when Sweeney, Richardson and former Knight Beau Taylor sent three-straight over the fences. It was the third homer for Carrillo this season and first for Friedrich since 2010.
With the game well in hand, UCF head coach Terry Rooney had the luxury of emptying his bench. Sophomore catcher Ethan Smith (Lakeland, Fla.) took advantage by sending a single over the shortstop's head for his first-career RBI. Rookie Chase Darhower (Niceville, Fla.) also notched his first-collegiate hit with a single in the eighth.