Backed by a season-high 16 hits, five pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts as the No. 19 UCF baseball team dominated the USF Bulls 12-1 Tuesday at the UCF baseball complex.
Freshman Eric Skoglund (Sarasota, Fla.) struck out a career-high seven in 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first victory of the season. He struck out five of the six batters he faced in the second and third innings.
UCF pitchers were backed by clutch hitting all night as the team put up the Knights’ largest run total against the Bulls since 2001.
Darnell Sweeney (Miramar, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to five games with a three-hit evening, and D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) drove in four runs for the Knights, who led 12-0 after seven innings before the Bulls ended the shutout bid.
“Tonight was probably the best overall team effort from top to bottom of all of our games this season,” UCF head coach Terry Rooney said. “I am very proud of our effort.”
UCF opened the scoring with three runs in the second inning. Senior Travis Shreve (Auburn, Wash.) doubled down the right-field line to bring home rookie James Vasquez (Palm City, Fla.), who made his first career start at first base. Sweeney, who won Sunday’s game with a walk-off hit, followed with a two-run double that drove home Nick Carrillo (Glendale, Ariz.) and Shreve.
In the third, Shreve collected his second RBI of the game, and his seventh of 2012, with another hit down the right-field line.
Senior right fielder Alex Friedrich (Orlando, Fla.) continued his stellar senior campaign, blasting his fourth double of the year to the left-field wall to plate catch Ryan Breen (Palm City, Fla.) in the fifth inning. Coming into the season, the University High School product had only three career doubles. He had two Tuesday evening to raise his season total to five.
After Skoglund worked himself into a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth, junior RHP Roman Madrid (Victoria, Texas) struck out USF’s Andrew Longley to keep the shutout intact.
In the seventh, the Knights batted around and scored six runs on five hits, all with two outs. The inning included a two-run homer by Carrillo, who joined Hicks as the only Knights with two home runs in 2012. Three more runs scored on a double by Hicks to bring his team-leading RBI total up to 12.
The Knights will travel to Daytona Beach tomorrow to take on Bethune-Cookman at 6 p.m. UCF went 3-0 against the Wildcats in 2011, including a 16-5 victory in the NCAA Regional.