UCF baseball season ends in marathon match vs. East Carolina
The UCF baseball season came to a close Friday night in Clearwater.
East Carolina won 7-6 in 13 innings to eliminate to the Knights from the American Athletic Conference tournament at BayCare Ballpark.
With the win, the Pirates advance to the AAC semifinals and will face South Florida on Saturday.
For Greg Lovelady’s squad (33-26), the season closed despite pushing the top seed in the conference to the brink of elimination.
The game, which began shortly after 1 p.m., was extended multiple hours due to extra innings and a weather delay in the middle of it.
An RBI walk-off single from Justin Wilcoxen, however, ended the game at 7:25 p.m.
The Pirates (43-16) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning when Carter Cunningham hit a grand slam one pitch after Cam Clonch scored thanks to a throwing error by the Knights.
No. 4 seed UCF responded by scoring 3 runs over the next two innings. Three consecutive singles from Matt Cedarburg, Tom Josten and Andrew Brait scored Cedarburg in the top of the third with no outs. Although Andrew Sundean hit into a double play, Josten was brought home to make it 5-2.
In the top of the fourth, Lex Boedicker was hit by a pitch and eventually advanced to third base. Cedarburg’s single to left scored Boedicker to the cut deficit to 2 runs.
The score remained the same for the next two innings before Ben McCabe hit a 2-run homer to right to tie the game at 5 in the seventh.
ECU regained its lead in the bottom of the eighth. Joey Berini singled and advanced to second base because of another throwing error by UCF. Berini scored when Lane Hoover doubled.
As Hoover came into second base, he slipped because of rain. That’s when the game was paused due to the weather.
With the Pirates leading 6-5 in the eighth, the weather delay lasted just under one hour.
In the top of the ninth, the Knights were able to get runners on first and second after ECU pitcher Trey Yesavage hit two batters. Yesavage then walked Sundean to load the bases with one out.
Nick Romano singled to score Corey Robinson from third and tie the game at 6 with the bases loaded but that’s all the Knights could do.
In the bottom half of the ninth, the Pirates were able to get runners on second and third but couldn’t score.
With a chance to win the game, ECU stranded a runner in scoring position in the 11th.
In the 13th, Josh Moylan reached first base due to an error before Wilcoxen singled to right for the winner.
Email Jason Beede at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.