Knights baseball capitalize over Eagles in game two 12-7

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Robert Van Deering / Valencia Voice

Austin Johnston went 2-4 with a double and three runs batted in with the victory over Winthrop 12-7.

ORLANDO – Austin Johnston went 2-4 with a double and three runs batted in as the University of Central Florida Knights defeated the Winthrop Eagles 12-7 on Saturday, March 2 at Jay Bergman Field on the UCF campus.

The UCF offense scored early and often as they were able to put up one run in the first inning and three runs in the third inning. The Knights then found themselves down 4-3 after the top half of the fifth inning, then UCF scored five runs in the bottom half of the frame that put the game away.

“If there was one big positive of the day I thought offensively we were better,” said UCF manager Terry Rooney. “We are still a little bit inconsistent, but we took advantage of a few mistakes and we were better. The key now is to get it spread out one through nine.”

The UCF offense was carried by the middle of the order which got seven hits and drove in eight runs. Johnston was hitting cleanup and reached base three times in the victory. “It’s nice because we haven’t gotten out to a quick start in a while,” said Johnston. “It gives our pitchers a little bit of breathing room and it’s always easier to pitch with a lead.”

Knights starting pitcher Danny Davis struggled as he scattered eight hits over four and two-thirds innings. Davis allowed four runs, but only two of them were earned. “Danny Davis didn’t have his best stuff today, he was up in the zone and he gutted it out for us,” said Rooney.

The Winthrop Eagles were able to score two runs in the fourth inning when Clay Altman and Kyle Edwards would both have RBI singles. UCF”s defense would commit two errors in the top of the fifth which allowed the Eagles to score two more runs and take a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the fifth Jeramy Matos hit a three run homerun for the Knights which capped off the frame. The homerun was Matos’ fourth of the year.

Chris Matulis came on in the sixth inning and pitched three innings in relief while striking out six batters. The game was still in question when Matulis came in and he was able to dominate the Eagles batters and not let them score.

“It was a close game after five innings, so we went right to Chris,” said Rooney. “Chris not only is he very good, but he gives us that kind of calming demeaning presence because he’s older and he has that competitiveness and he’s done it all year long.”

UCF will finish off their weekend series against the Winthrop Eagles on Sunday, March 3 at 1:00 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field.