Rice evens series with 9-2 win, sets up winner-take-all game

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Sebastian Arbelaez / Valencia Voice

Eric Fuda and his teammates celebrate his 9th inning 2-run home run.

UCF dropped the second game against Rice 9-2 Friday night at Jay Bergman Field.

UCF and Rice will battle for the Conference USA title after each team won and lost a game on Friday.

“It’s championship Saturday every single weekend we have talked about it and we will be there tomorrow at 1 o’clock what else can you ask for?” said head coach Terry Rooney after the game.

The Knights’ bats failed to wake up during the second game. UCF only had four hits against Rice’s nine.

Jeramy Matos came up clutch in the fourth inning after hitting a double and bringing in Ryan Breen for UCF’s first run of the game. Matos went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Matos later scored on a Travis Shreve single.

RHP Ben Lively exited the game after allowing five runs in 5.2 innings. Garrett Nuss took over with a man on base and two outs. He quickly struck out Jeremy Rathjen and ended the sixth inning.

Nuss returned to the mound in the seventh inning and retired the Owls in order. Nuss was taken out in the eighth inning after he threw two wild pitches, which resulted in two runs by Rice.

RHP Matt Collins pitched the last 1.1 innings. He allowed two hits and another two runs.

“The story of the day in the area that we need to improve in is that we walked 15 batters and hit three. That goes against everything we talk about from a pitching standpoint,” Rooney later continued.

Rooney said after the game he hasn’t made up his mind on who will be the starting pitcher tomorrow. Rice’s head coach Wayne Graham said John Simms will be the starting pitcher for Game 3.