ORLANDO, Fla. – The Knights’ offense continued to dismantle Division 1 Baseball with a 9-2 win over the No. 15 Houston Cougars Friday night in their first conference game of the season.
UCF jumped out early, smashing three home runs in the first inning and preying upon Houston defensive mistakes in the third to command a five run lead through three innings. Five home runs were hit total in a game with the wind blowing out to straightaway center. UCF smashed 15 hits in eight frames, continuing a trend of offensive prowess.
Kyle Marsh, Tommy Williams, and JoMarcos Woods all connected with the long ball in a statement game against the conference favorite.
“We talk a lot about resoponding when the other team scores. Tonight, two innings in a row they hit two home runs and both innings we responded,” said Coach Schnall.
The long ball was the driving force behind UCF’s offensive success on Friday, but key situations set the barrier to a safe distance. Vasuqez hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a run, Kam Gellinger scored on a passed ball, and two runs scored in the third on an error at first base.
Woods was the offensive standout in another high-scoring Knights’ baseball game with two home runs and four RBIs over a 3-4 effort.
“I’m feeling pretty good at the plate right now,” Woods said. “That wind definitely helped me out a little.”
There were nine runs scored by both teams in the first three innings, but the bats fell deafeningly silent for the middle portion of the game. Cre Finfrock cruised through his seven full innings of work and Houston pitcher Patrick Weigel eased the chaos of UCF’s early success with 4.1 innings of relative success; he only let in two earned runs.
“He did a great job. Really set the tone and did a great job. You know Cre’s got special stuff, he’s a special arm, he’s a guy that’s pitching on Friday night for a reason,” said Coach Schnall after the game. “That sets the tone. We’re really looking forward to getting back out here tomorrow after a night like tonight.”
Finfrock dominated this outing. Seven runs of support it always nice – especially as early as the third inning – but it was his performance on the mound that highlighted the conference win. 7.0 innings pitched, two earned runs, three hits surrendered and only two walks is a quality start no matter how you look at it. He faced 27 batters and threw 21 first-pitch strikes.
After the first two innings and only two runs he surrendered, Finfrock was nearly unhittable. His 105 pitches set the stage for Harrison Hukari’s entrance in the eighth inning.
“That was a great way to set the tone on Friday night. For a true freshman to go out there and do that, it says a lot,” Schnall said, continuing on to say that both the dominance on the mound and early buffer gave him the confidence to leave Cre in.
The win could not have come in a more timely fashion. Fresh off of a disappointing loss in Jacksonville the Knights are primed to make their position clear to the rest of the conference this weekend, and putting a trademark win on the Houston Cougars establishes dominance over the American.