ORLANDO, Fla. – Zach Rodgers tossed a complete game and James Vasquez knocked in three RBIs Sunday afternoon to bring UCF (25-12, 4-5) back from the brink of disaster with a 5-1 win in the series finale against UCONN (22-13, 5-4), who left Orlando with two conference wins firmly in their grasp.
After drawing blood in the first inning UCONN fell silent over eight scoreless frames.
Zach Rodgers settled into cruise control for the full nine and never had to pitch out of a serious jam. He held the Huskies to only five hits, struck out seven and didn’t walk a single batter while throwing 132 pitches. It was an emphatic way to move to 6-0 on the season.
“Tremendous outing, another tremendous outing for Rodge, once again putting the team on his back,” praised Coach Rooney. “At the end of the day our best pitcher rose up.”
In the ninth inning Rodgers was still topping over 90 miles an hour with his fastball, clearly still with gas in the tank.
Vasquez got rolling in the first inning with an RBI single that tied the game at one apiece, came across to score the go-ahead run in the third inning, and bashed a double to drive in two more in the fourth.
“Coach Rooney always says someone needs to rise up and I just throw myself in the situation in BP and it shows up in the game. I just try to hit the ball hard wherever it’s pitched,” Vasquez said.
Even with a promising win on Sunday a 4-5 conference record means the Knights are now playing to remove themselves from the bottom half of the standings.
With plenty of conference play left in the season the team’s focus has not strayed from playing their own brand of baseball.
“It’s a crazy game and there’s a lot of physical things and confidence that goes into it,” Rooney said. “Listen, the bottom line is we’re in a little bit of a rut.”
“We need to go out and play like we’re the 12th ranked team in the country. The only thing I care about is that our work ethic continues to go and it has, and that we play with a relentless amount of confidence,” said Rooney.
UCF will travel to Miami Wednesday and then up to Tulane over the weekend.