The only thing that slowed down Brian Adkins Wednesday was the weather as UCF hammered Boston College, 18-0. The sophomore lefty out of Orlando’s University High School delivered 7.0 innings of two-hit ball for the Knights (10-3), not allowing a run or a walk and striking out five, and had plenty left to try for the complete-game shutout until the weather delay forced him to sit the last two innings in the dugout.
“The biggest thing for me is jumping ahead in counts and letting my defense play. And that’s what I did,” said Adkins, who improved to 3-0 on the season. “I had all three pitches going and the defense made a lot of great plays behind me. That’s always a recipe for success. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t mad (about the weather), but the most important thing was we kept the shutout and got the win.”
Adkins retired the first seven Eagles (6-5) he faced and did not go to a three-ball count on a batter until the fourth inning. His 7.0 innings of work and five strikeouts both matched a career-high. Adkins has now won all three starts he has made this year.
“Brian Adkins did another tremendous job and set the tone tonight,” said head coach Terry Rooney. “The thing that I’m pleased about with our pitching is that once we got back from Alabama, I told our guys that the starters have to go deeper into games. Well our starters are doing that now. That takes a burden off of our bullpen.”
Capping off the final two innings after the delay, Alex Besaw and Brennan Dobbins each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the four-hit shutout of the Eagles.
Leading an 18-hit attack, Jonathan Griffin went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and three runs, while Erik Hempe and Derek Luciano also crushed home runs during the evening. Meanwhile, Beau Taylor drove in three as the Knights left only four runners on the bases.
Adkins wasted little time setting the stage for a big first inning for the Knights as he needed just six pitches to retire the side in the top of the first. Conversely, freshman southpaw Steve Green was making his first start for the Eagles and witnessed Travis Shreve double, Ronnie Richardson get aboard on a bunt single and Darnell Sweeney draw a four-pitch walk to open up the bottom half.
Loading the bases with no outs in the first inning, UCF made sure the scoreboard would light up. Following a wild pitch, Taylor, Griffin and D.J. Hicks all rapped out RBI singles to make it 4-0. Boston College was forced to go to the pen in the first and Dave Laufer entered with one out and the bases still jammed. The righty then surrendered a RBI fielder’s choice to Luciano and threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt to first, permitting Griffin to touch home for the 6-0 lead.
With a big advantage, Adkins did not let up, throwing only seven pitches in the second inning to sit down three more Eagles. When the Knights returned to the dish in the home half, they built on their lead. Getting it started with a one-out double by Sweeney, Taylor lined a RBI triple down the right-field line. With a runner at third, Griffin demolished the first pitch he saw, sending a two-run shot over the wall in left to make it 9-0.
In only the third inning, UCF would put it out of reach by way of RBI out of Richardson and Taylor to increase the advantage to 11-0. With Adkins cruising past the Boston College lineup, weather forced him to shut down. Following the 1:05 delay at the start of the bottom of the seventh, Hempe greeted reliever Matt Alvarez with a solo homer to left-center.
One inning later, the scoring concluded when Michael Holmes doubled with one out to get the first Knight aboard in the eighth, and Kevin Vasquez sent a hard single to center to plate the shortstop. Eventually with the bases loaded, Hicks added a sac fly, Hempe came through with a RBI single and Luciano destroyed a two-out, three-run homer over the right-field deck.