April 7, 2012
UCF 7, UAB 3
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Ronnie Richardson and Jeramy Matos homered and Ben Lively pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings to lead the No. 14 UCF baseball team to a 7-3 win over UAB.
The host Knights (25-7, 6-2 Conference USA) earned their sixth win in the last seven games with a combination of clutch pitching, defense and hitting.
UAB (19-13, 3-5) had just scored two runs to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning when Lively entered the game. He got out of a bases-loaded jam when the Blazers' Michael Busby lined out to center field and Richardson fired a perfect throw to home to retire the potential go-ahead run.
"I like when they run. It's a challenge," said Richardson, who had three hits. "As an outfielder, you want them to test you."
UCF freshman JoMarcos Woods drove in the go-ahead run with a single to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning. Richardson homered to left in the 6th to give the Knights a two-run lead, and then Matos' pinch-hit three-run homer down the left-field line pushed UCF's lead to 7-2 with two outs in the seventh.
The Knights and Blazers played before 1,867 fans, the 13th-largest crowd in UCF history. The two teams will play the final game of the series at 11 a.m. Sunday at the UCF baseball complex.
UCF lost Friday's game 11-4, and head coach Terry Rooney was pleased with how the Knights responded on Saturday.
"The guys did a good job," he said. "We played a little bit tougher today."
After UAB's double play ended the fifth inning, Lively pitched two additional perfect innings to earn his fourth win of the season before giving way to Roman Madrid in the eighth and Joe Rogers in the ninth.
Lively credited Richardson with pumping up the team with that fifth-inning throw and "bringing the momentum back in the dugout." The Blazers had another chance to challenge Richardson on a line out in the eighth inning, but that runner stayed at third.
UCF starter Chris Matulis, who notched back-to-back strikeouts to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, struck out five and gave up 2 runs in 4 1/3 innings before Lively relieved him.
The Knights' second-inning runs scored on a James Vasquez groundout and a Travis Shreve single.
News & Notes:
-Ronnie Richardson was hit by a pitch for the 17th time this year. It was the 47th time in his career that he was hit by a pitch, and he now ranks fourth in UCF baseball history. Kiko Vazquez is third with 48 HBP.
-After this weekend's series, UCF will remain at home for two weekday games - Tuesday against Florida A&M and Wednesday against Bethune-Cookman. Both games will start at 6:30 p.m.