HOUSTON, Texas. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind four JoMarcos Woods RBI and five 2/3 innings from starter Brian Adkins, the No. 16 UCF baseball improved to 3-1 in Conference USA, and 21-6 overall, with an 8-3 victory over Houston Friday night at Cougar Field.
It was the third-straight win against the Cougars (10-14, 1-3) for Adkins who earned his first victory (2-0) since Feb. 29. The Orlando native effectively scattered eight hits across 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two of Houston's three runs.
In the fourth-consecutive contest with 10-plus UCF hits, Woods and catcher Ryan Breen led the Knights offensively by combing for five hits and six RBI. Jeramy Matos also busted out with a 2-for-4 performance that included a towering solo home run over the left-field fence.
"All through batting practice, the ball was looking good. I getting a lot of line-drives, so that's what I was looking to do once I knew I got the start," Woods, a native of Orlando, said after the game. "I didn't start when I first got here (in the fall), so I've been working hard and it's good to know (head coach Terry Rooney) has seen my effort."
On the mound, Adkins faced most of his adversity in the third inning when he allowed two Houston runs on four hits. The damage was limited in the frame thanks to a heads up play by Chris Taladay (3-for-5) who saved a run by fielding a grounder at third and firing it home to Breen who applied the tag to Houston's Landon Appling.
After a Woods sacrifice fly in the second inning, Matos, who made his first start in a UCF uniform Tuesday, turned on a 2-2 Jared Ray pitch and sent it well over the left-field wall for his first home run as a Knight to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth.
UCF busted the game open in the fifth, pounding out four singles for three runs. Darnell Sweeney (3-for-5) led off the frame with a shot up the middle and came around to score on a Ryan Breen hit through the right side. Two batters later, Woods continued his breakout performance with a single past the diving second baseman to bring home Alex Friedrich and Taladay.
In the seventh, Breen and Woods drove home a pair of insurance runs with Breen's coming on a RBI double and Woods a fielder's choice.
The Knights' robust bullpen made sure there would be no Houston comeback. Victoria, Texas, native Roman Madrid took over for Adkins in the sixth and pitched 2 1/3 solid innings in front of friends and family. Senior Bryan Brown finished off the home team with a scoreless ninth in his 64th-career appearance.
Game two of the series will take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
News & Notes:
-Darnell Sweeney stole his 11th base of the season after extending his hit streak to five-straight in the first
-Richardson stole his league-leading 12th base in the eighth
-UCF has now hit a home run in four-straight games