ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF was able to finish their own home tournament Sunday with a flourish, beating The Citadel 9-7 in a close finish at Jay Bergman Field.
Robby Howell had a much more comfortable day on the mound in his second collegiate start, commanding the plate for 3.1 innings while only giving up two hits and striking out a single batter. He did seem to struggle slightly to find the zone – evidenced by his 3 walks on the day and a solo home run served up in the 4th inning.
Joe Marotta was the first of five pitchers to see the field in relief after Howell’s exit in the third. The strikeout artist fanned three batters over 1.1 innings, but needed to see eight batters to do it. He gave up one earned run while walking three batters as well. When the righty gets his control under command this season he has the potential to be dominant. In 3.1 recorded innings he has struck out 6 batters this season.
Erik Barber led the Knights with his 4 RBIs, coming off of two long sacrifice fly balls and a first inning double that drove in two. It was a career day for the Knight, who now leads UCF with 8 RBIs.
Kam Gellinger had another rough day offensively, going hitless again to accrue an 0-7 streak over the past two games. The freshman will have his ups and downs as he transitions to D1 college baseball this year, but still retains the full confidence of Coach Rooney.
It was another nerve wracking finish. After giving up the tying run and losing in extra innings on Friday, then coming within ten feet of extending Saturday’s game when the final out was caught at the wall, The Citadel put a scare into UCF with a 3 run top of the ninth that was almost enough to force new life.
On Tuesday the Knights will continue on to Jacksonville for their next game. The Jacksonville squad is currently 1-5 and are still searching for their first win at home.