ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Battling through rainy conditions for the third-straight day, the No. 18 UCF baseball team earned its third series sweep of 2012 with a 2-1 victory over Massachusetts Sunday. The win sets up an exciting in-state showdown as the Knights (13-4) host No. 13 Miami Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
For the second-consecutive day, D.J. Hicks recorded the game-winning RBI as his two-out, two-strike single in the seventh gave UCF the 2-1 advantage. The base hit also extended the first baseman's hitting streak to 10 games. Also leading a 10-hit attack, Chris Taladay was 2-for-4 for his eighth multi-hit game of the season, while Nick Carrillo and James Vasquez also pounded out two hits.
Southpaw Brian Adkins made his fifth start of the year Sunday and did not receive a decision, going 5.0 innings and permitting one run on three hits, striking out three. Roman Madrid (2-1) grabbed the win in relief, tossing hitless innings in the seventh and eighth.
"I feel like Brian (Adkins) is back," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said with a smile after the 2-1 win Sunday. "I love that guy because I know what he's going to give. He's throws strikes and competes like crazy. Brian did a great job, and obviously our bullpen did a good job again to hold everyone in check."
Although Adkins issued a walk to the first batter of the game, he stranded Ryan Cusick at third highlighted by a diving catch by Alex Friedrich in right field. Two innings later, however, Cusick notched a leadoff single and came around to score thanks to a stolen base, sacrifice bunt and a groundout.
Now trailing 1-0, UCF put together a threat vs. righty Joe Popielarczyk in the fourth as Taladay singled and Ryan Breen drew a one-out walk. The Minutemen would escape without any damage by way of a 3-6-1 double play.
Recording just three hits through the first four innings, the Knights finally got to Popielarczyk by giving some love to the left-field corner in the fifth. On a 2-2 pitch, Carrillo delivered a one-out double into the left-field line before Ronnie Richardson lined a 1-1 offering just inside the white paint in left for a double of his own to tie the game at 1-1.
UMass looked to answer in the sixth when Chris Matulis jogged in from the pen, placing two aboard with a pair of one-out singles. The lefty buckled down, though, striking out Adam Picard and Nick Campero.
With the wind and rain continuing to engulf the ballpark, a leadoff single from Carrillo followed by a perfect sacrifice bunt laid down by Richardson provided UCF with a runner in scoring position and just one out in the seventh. Leif Sorenson was called to the hill, and he picked up out No. 2 before Travis Shreve chopped an infield single to short. Now with runners at the corners, Hicks battled to a 2-2 count only to send a RBI single through the right side, scoring Carrillo from third.
That run proved to be the difference, and closer Joe Rogers worked around a leadoff single in the ninth for his fourth save of the year. It also was his 21st-career save, moving him into a tie for second on the UCF all-time list.