UCF baseball picks up 13th win of season, defeats Columbia 5-1


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Jordan Savinon finished the game on Saturday night with an RBI and two walks.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The ninth-ranked UCF Knights baseball team continued its strong play on Saturday as they defeated the Columbia Lions 5-1 in front of an announced crowd of 1,111 at Jay Bergman Field for their 13th win of the season.

The win ensures the Knights of their third-straight home series win after previously taking series wins against Siena and No. 18 Ole Miss. The Knights will be going for a series sweep of the Lions (2-4) on Sunday, a team that previously beat No. 6 Houston twice.

“They’re really good,” said Knights senior James Vasquez. “Coach told us they’re going to be strong. We’re just playing our game, come out everyday the same and treat every game the same and play every pitch.”

The Knights were in control for the entire game after jumping out to an early 4-0 lead after the first inning. UCF took advantage of Lions starter Kevin Roy’s shaky inning as he threw 30 pitches (14 for strikes) in the opening frame.

Infielders Tommy Williams, Kyle Marsh, Jordan Savinon and Vasquez all recorded an RBI in the inning. Designated hitter Matt Diorio brought in UCF’s fifth run in the fourth inning to put the Knights ahead for good.

“Offensively we did a good job early,” said Knights head coach Terry Rooney. “We need to continue throughout the course of the game which is what we’ve done. Our hitters have done a great job and coach Schnall our hitting coach deserves so much credit. He has done an unbelievably terrific job with our offense. He’s leading the efforts with our hitters; he’s doing an awesome job. All of our guys are getting better [and] they have gotten better.”

Columbia scored their lone run in the game in the fourth inning after a pair of lead off singles by Robb Paller and Gus Craig. Nick Maguire’s single to center field loaded the bases for the Lions, but were only able to bring in one run on a groundout to third base by Randell Kanemaru.

Starting pitcher Cre Finfrock (4-0) pitched six innings for the Knights and gave up one earned run on four hits while striking out four and walking two batters.

Trent Thompson recorded two outs in the seventh inning for UCF before walking Jordan Serena to load the bases. Harrison Hukari took over for Thompson and would end up finishing the game off for UCF to earn his second save of the season.

“I think it’s important for any of our starters [to pitch deep into games],” said Rooney. “Now we’re at the point of the year where I’m not really concerned about pitch counts; early in the year you really have to monitor it. Your Friday guy, [Zach Rodgers] starts it off and goes deep. It’s important that Friday guy goes deep and Saturday because you got to save your bullpen for the rest of the weekend.”

The Knights will send Robby Howell (2-0, 3.31 ERA) to the mound for the final game of the series on Sunday while the Lions will counter with Mike Weisman (0-0, 7.20 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.