Zach Rodgers goes the distance as UCF downs UConn


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Zach Rodgers threw his second-straight complete game on Sunday, as the Knights defeated UConn 5-1.

ORLANDO — Zach Rodgers had another stellar start, pitching a complete game while allowing one run on five hits and striking out seven as the No. 12 UCF Knights defeated the UConn Huskies 5-1 on Sunday at Jay Bergman Field.

Rodgers finished the game with a pitch count of 132 as he was on his way to his second-straight complete game win of the season, bringing his record to 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA. Fatigue didn’t seem to be an issue for the right-hander either, as he was still hitting 90-92 MPH on the radar gun during the ninth inning.

“I think I’m in good enough condition to be out there and go each week and then throw as much as I need to to get the win,” said Rodgers.

The senior right-hander has bounced around since losing his Friday night starter role after four starts, but he’s settled into the Sunday role, as he’s thrown back-to-back complete games as the Sunday starter.

“Another tremendous outing for (Rodgers), once again putting the team on his back and did a terrific job,” said UCF head coach Terry Rooney about his starter following the game. “At the end of the day our best pitcher rose up and that’s what we need.”

James Vasquez had himself a day, going 3-4 at the plate with three runs batted in including a two RBI double in the fourth inning that gave UCF a 5-1 lead.

Vasquez also drove in the Knights’ first run of the game with an RBI single in the first. His 3-4 game brought his batting average up to .301 for the season.

“Coach Rooney always says someone needs to rise up,” said Vasquez after the win. “And I just put myself in the situation in (batting practice) and it shows up in the game and I just try to hit the ball hard wherever it’s pitched.”

Kyle Marsh made his return to the lineup on Sunday after missing the last few games due to an illness, coach Rooney said the bug that has been going around the clubhouse is one of the worst he’s seen as a coach.

With the win, UCF’s record now improves to 25-12 on the season and 4-5 in American Athletic Conference play.

UCF’s next game will be against No. 11 Miami on Wednesday in Coral Gables. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST.

The Knights’ next AAC game will be on Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST when they start a three-game series against Tulane in New Orleans.