Alex Krutchik, Correspondent (@AlexKrutchikFS on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The No. 21 UCF Knights came into Tuesday’s game with the 7th-best team ERA in the country, but Florida State still generated quality offense in a 6-4 victory.
The No. 8 Seminoles (16-4, 3-3) were kept at bay by the Knights through the first 2 innings. But with 2 outs in the 3rd, second baseman Nick Derr hit a two-run home run to right-center field for his 4th home run of the year.
The ‘Noles followed it up with another big inning in the 4th. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, J.C. Flowers hit a ball through the middle to send home Drew Mendoza. With the bases loaded shortstop Mike Salvatore hit into a sacrifice fly to bring home Steven Wells. Nick Derr added to the damage with an RBI single to center field.
Seminole starting pitcher Andrew Karp faltered a little in the 2nd, hitting the first batter of the inning, and then allowing 2 singles to load the bases with 1 out. Karp and the Seminoles got out of the inning with a pop out to Salvatore.
Karp would cruise through the next 5 innings, save for a solo home run in the 4th inning. Things almost came unraveled for Karp and the Seminoles in the 8th inning, when UCF first baseman Rylan Thomas hit a two-run home run that barely scraped by the left field foul pole to cut the Knight’s deficit to 6-3.
After 117 pitches, Karp’s day was done. He struck out 10 and walked none over 7.1 IP.
Gage Hutchinson came in relief, and almost got the Seminoles into more trouble. Dallas Beaver singled to score Matthew Mika to bring them to 6-4. Hutchinson was able to get the final strikeout to get the Seminoles out of their biggest jam.
The Seminoles and Knights play again Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.