Knights sweep series from Eagles, comeback victory 7-6

ORLANDO – Zac Favre pitched five innings in relief, stoke out seven, allowed no runs on one hit, to shut down the Winthrop Eagles productive first inning and guide the University of Central Florida Knights comeback victory 7-6 on Sunday, March 3 at Jay Bergman Field on the UCF campus to close out the weekend series sweep.

The Winthrop Eagles (3-8) had a efficient offensive first inning scoring six runs, but couldn’t score again in the duration of the game as UCF (7-4) mounted a comeback which included a two run homerun by Jeramy Matos to bring the game within two and a game winning hit by Erik Hempe to bring in pitch runner Ryan Reilly to score.

“What a team win in every aspect possible,” said UCF head coach Terry Rooney about the comeback. “It starts with Zac Favre, we gave up six runs in the first, and then put up eight zero’s the rest of the way. He did a tremendous job to pick his teammates up all the way through.”

Zac Favre came in to replace starting pitcher Tyler Martin for the UCF Knights whom made his first collegiate start. Martin hit the first batter of the game, allowed a hit to the second, and walked the third batter to load the bases.

Martin would go ahead to allow six runs, hit two batters, throw two pass balls within only 35 pitches thrown. Once Favre came in with two outs he wouldn’t allow a hit until the top of the sixth inning and retired nine consecutive Winthrop batters.

“I was trying to get in there and get the job done,” said right hand pitcher Zac Favre. “To get my team the best chance to win, and adapt to these kinds of situations.”

UCF commenced their comeback by scoring their first run of the game off of a Chris Taladay single to center field as he brought in JoMarcos Woods whom had three runs scored in the bottom of the third inning. Taladay went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in, and totaled throughout the three game series a .583 batting average.

“This right here feels great, it’s an amazing feeling to comeback from a game like that,” said UCF third baseman Chris Taladay. “We struggled in the first inning very obvious but as a whole we battled as a whole team.”

Winthrop, after having that rapid start from the top of the first inning, would not do any further damage other than allow the Knights to gain seven runs, on 14 hits to earn their second series sweep this season.

Although having a 1-for-6 game, UCF right fielder Erik Hempe would come up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning to get his only hit of the game on a liner pass Winthrop shortstop Kyle Edwards which turned out to result in a victory to close the weekend.

“The message to the team was it took everybody to win today,” said Rooney about his message to his team after the game. “And to win on championship Sunday on a walk off, that’s an epitome of a team effort.”

UCF has won their second series of the season, having their first series win over the Siena Saints, and now over the Winthrop Eagles.

UCF will go on to face off against the University of North Florida Ospreys at Jay Bergman field on Tuesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m.