The No. 6 Hurricanes continued their dominance over Central Florida with a 5-2 win over the Knights in front of 2,434 fans at the UCF Baseball Complex Wednesday night. Miami (14-3, 2-1) is now 20-5 all time against UCF and 7-0 in road games.
Junior catcher Zack Collins extended his on-base streak to 12 games with an RBI single in through the left side in the first to give the Canes the early lead. Collins scored on a two-out double steal with junior left fielder taking second on a bang-bang play. The close call drew UCF Head Coach Terry Rooney out of the dugout to give the second-base umpire an animated explanation of his own version of the call at second.
UCF (10-8) cut the lead to one in the second on an RBI single through the right side by right fielder Eugene Vasquez. With runners on second and third, right-handed sophomore Jesse Lepore struck out the next two batters to limit the damage.
The Knights tied the game with a two-out rally in the fourth. Vasquez got his second hit of the game, a double to left center, and Logan Heiser earned a walk. The Knights capitalized when Kam Gellinger singled, driving home Vasquez. Again Lepore managed to get out of the inning, this time by forcing a ground out.
The Canes quickly regained the lead in the fifth on an RBI single through the left side by junior infielder Johnny Ruiz. For the second time, Rooney emerged from the dugout, this time to pull starter Juan Pimentel, who had already thrown 102 pitches and faced 23 batters.
Miami clung to its one-run lead through seven innings. The Hurricanes fans, who traveled well to the game and by all accounts had the slight majority of the supporters, were anxious to see Miami break the game open. A sac-fly by redshirt junior infielder Edgar Michelangeli scored Ruiz to give the Hurricanes some breathing room; senior shortstop Brandon Lopez was thrown out on the play to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth, junior infielder Randy Batista scored on a single by redshirt junior first baseman Chirs Barr, giving Miami another insurance run. Miami looked poised to blow the game wide open at this point, but a power outage derailed those plans. During Collins’s fifth at-bat of the night, the entire stadium descended into darkness as the lights cut off, sending most of the fans to the exits. Following a 20-minute delay, the game resumed and Collins, who entered the contest with a .576 on-base percentage, earned his second walk of the game.
UCF escaped the ninth with only letting in the one run, but junior closer Bryan Garcia put away the Knights in the bottom of the inning for his sixth save of the season.
The Canes play Louisville at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mark Light Field.