UCF Knights Eliminated from American Baseball Tournament


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

The Knights were eliminated from the AAC Baseball Tournament following Thursday’s loss.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — For the second time in as many days, the UCF Knights fell victim to a walk-off hit. This time the Knights lost in the bottom of the 11th inning on an RBI single by UConn second baseman Vinny Siena.

The loss eliminates UCF from contention in the American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship.

“I was very proud of the way that they competed,” UCF head coach Terry Rooney said. “I know the guys are disappointed, I feel for them. UConn to their credit played a little bit better than us today. The guys certainly competed like crazy out there; played with all of their hearts.”

The Knights led for much of the game after scoring two runs in the top of the second inning. Left fielder Eugene Vazquez recorded the first RBI of the game after hitting a sharp line drive to Huskies first baseman Bobby Melley that scored Kyle Marsh.

UConn starting pitcher Carson Cross aided in UCF’s second run of the inning after hitting Dylan Moore with the bases loaded. The Huskies added their first run of the game in the bottom half of the inning after a solo homerun by designated hitter Joe Deroche-Duffin.

UCF starting pitcher Cre Frinfrock was chased out of the game in the seventh inning after allowing two consecutive walks with two outs. Relief pitcher Harrison Hukari walked the first batter he faced to load the bases on four balls and walked the next batter to allow the Huskies to take a 3-2 lead after seven innings.

Frinfrock allowed four runs (three earned) over 6.2 innings pitched while striking out four and walking four batters.

After the Huskies took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, shortstop Dylan Moore answered quickly for the Knights in the top of the eighth by hitting a solo homerun over the left field wall to tie the game up at three runs each.

The Knights would be shutout over the final three innings, failing to put a baserunner no closer than second base.

Sophomore Robby Howell received the loss after allowing the game-winning single in the 11th inning. Howell pitched the final 3.1 innings in the losing effort while allowing five hits.

Thursday’s loss eliminates the Knights from the American tournament and likely ended all hope of receiving an invitation to play in an NCAA Regional. The Huskies will play on Friday at 3 p.m. versus the loser of Thursday night’s game between East Carolina and Tulane.