ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Ronnie Richardson's game-winning double in the eighth inning and stellar pitching from Brian Adkins and Joe Rogers lifted the No. 19 UCF baseball team to a 2-1 win over East Carolina in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Richardson doubled to left-center to score Travis Shreve, who had reached on an infield single.
Joe Rogers pitched two hitless innings to earn his second victory of the season for the Knights (18-5, 1-0 C-USA). He relieved Adkins, who allowed just five hits and one run in seven innings.
"I told the guys (after the game), `Welcome to Friday night baseball in Conference USA,'" UCF head coach Terry Rooney said. "That's what you get on Friday nights. Most of the time it is going to be a pitchers' duel. In this league it's about great pitching and clutch hitting."
The two teams will play again at 4 p.m. Saturday, and they will finish the series with a nationally televised game at 1 p.m. Sunday on Fox Sports Net.
With East Carolina leading 1-0, UCF tied the game in the third. Shreve put the Knights in the hit column and moved up to second on a passed ball. After an infield single by Richardson, Sweeney lined a shot to center field for his second sacrifice fly of the year to even the game at 1-1.
Adkins, who notched his longest outing of the season, survived a first-inning jam after the first two batters hit singles to right field. A line drive to Chris Taladay at third turned into a double play and helped him get out of the inning.
After back-to-back doubles in the second inning, the University High School graduate settled in to retire the next 13 batters. He recorded his 100th-career strikeout in the fifth inning.
The Knights' defense helped Adkins all night. The first web gem of the evening came in the top of the sixth as Darnell Sweeney ranged far to his left to field a ball in shallow center and fired a one-hopper to first for the out.
With one out in the seventh, left fielder Nick Carrillo kept two runs off the board when he reached over the fence to rob a potential home run off the bat of ECU's Chase McDonald.
After Rogers worked the eighth inning in relief of Adkins, Shreve came through with a one-out infield chopper to second base to get aboard on his second hit of the night. That would bring up Tuesday night's hero in Richardson. He wouldn't disappoint in the clutch once more, as he drove a 1-1 pitch to the power alley in left-center to score Shreve.
News & Notes:
-The game duration of 1:55 was UCF's shortest game in 2012 by 15 minutes
-UCF has now competed in 11 one-run games this season and won seven of them
-Shreve extended his hitting streak to six games with his 2-for-3 night
-UCF volleyball players sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on Friday. The volleyball team will host the Spring Fling tournament from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Venue. Proceeds will benefit the Florida chapter of Hands and Voices, a nonprofit organization that supports families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.