ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Chris Taladay crushed his first home run of 2012, and freshman Tommy Williams drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly as the No. 19 UCF baseball team rallied in the eighth inning to beat Harvard 4-3 Friday night.
The Knights' (14-5) offense came to life after left fielder Nick Carrillo threw out a Harvard runner trying to score on a base hit in the top of the eighth. Carrillo's defensive gem prevented the Crimson (1-10) from adding to their 3-2 lead.
"The guys, to their credit, did a great job of grinding it out and finding a way to get it done," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said after the game. "The contributions of so many different people were great tonight. You look at the opportunity we gave to some of the guys, and we were able to take a lot of positives from that."
Chris Matulis earned his second win of the season with three innings of one-hit relief. He struck out four and set up Joe Rogers who picked up his fifth save, and 22nd of his career.
UCF and Harvard will play again at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the UCF baseball complex.
On Friday, each team scored two runs in the first inning, and Harvard added its third run in the top of the second. After that, both teams were held scoreless until UCF's outburst in the eighth.
In the bottom of the first, the Knights scored their two runs on a single to left by Taladay and a sacrifice fly by Friedrich.
Taladay led off the eighth inning with a no-doubter, taking a Matt Doyle pitch deep to right field over the bullpen. Alex Friedrich followed with a single, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Carrillo.
After Ryan Breen was hit by a pitch, both runners advanced a base when Doyle threw a pickoff attempt into center field because no one was covering second. Williams' sacrifice fly then gave the Knights the lead for good.
Defensively, Williams and second baseman Spencer Haynes helped the Knights turn clutch double plays. Haynes replaced Travis Shreve in the third inning. Shreve injured his leg after hitting a first-inning single.
-Ronnie Richardson, who scored UCF's second run, was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season.
-UCF President John C. Hitt and first lady Martha Hitt attended the game, and they received a round of applause for their 20 years of service at UCF. Their first day on campus was March 1, 1992.
-Track-and-field student-athletes Aurieyall Scott, Octavious Freeman and Tyler Smith sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on Friday. Scott and Freeman medaled at the indoor track-and-field national championships earlier this month in Idaho. The Knights finished eighth as a team. They will compete in their first outdoor track-and-field home meet at 9 a.m. Saturday.