#18 UCF Nips UMass Baseball, 5-4
March 10, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - With two out in the top of the ninth, a play at the plate prevented the potential tying run from scoring as the UMass baseball team came up just short of #18 UCF on Saturday afternoon, a 5-4 setback at Jay Bergman Field. The Minutemen are now 0-2 to begin the season, while the nationally-ranked Knights improve to 12-4.
UMass began the contest with a 1-0 lead after scoring a run with two away in the top of the first. Three straight singles by junior Anthony Serino, sophomore Dylan Begin and senior Tom Conley put the squad on the board.
Then in the bottom half of the frame, a pair of errors proved costly for the Minutemen as UCF managed to score four unearned after the first two Knights to reach base were thrown out attempting to steal. RBI singles by Ryan Breen, James Vasquez and a two-run double off the bat of Alex Friedrich put UCF on top, 4-1.
UMass then leveled the score by taking advantage of several Knights' miscues in their next turn at bat. Junior Rich Graef drew a two-out walk and moved to third when redshirt-sophomore Ryan Cusick reached on an error before scoring on a passed ball. Sophomore Nick Sanford followed with a single and advanced to a second on an error that allowed Cusick to cross the plate. After Serino reached base on UCF's third error of the inning, Begin drove in Sanford with a single to right.
The Knights later regained the lead with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the fifth. D.J. Hicks hit a solo shot with one away to put UCF in front, 5-4.
The Minutemen had three singles in the top of the third, but were held without another hit until the top of the ninth. Graef led off the inning by reaching on an error and was sacrificed over second. With the runner in scoring position and UMass down to its last out, Serino came through with a clutch hit, but Graef was tagged out at home to end the contest.
Junior Dennis Torres took the hard-luck loss (0-1) on the mound for the Minutemen after letting up five runs, only one earned, on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Garrett Nuss picked up the win (1-0) for the Knights as he worked four hitless innings of relief and fanned five, while walking one. UMass touched up UCF starter Eric Skoglund for four runs, one earned on nine hits in just 3.0 innings on the hill.
Begin (2-for-4), sophomore Nik Campero (2-for-4) and Serino (2-for-5) all had multiple hits on the afternoon for the Minutemen. Friedrich finished 2-for-4 with a double and drove in two to pace the Knights.
The teams will close out the weekend series tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, Mar. 11, at 1 p.m.