ORLANDO, Fla. – The19th-ranked Central Florida Golden Knights came back from a 4-0 deficit on Sunday to edge visiting Harvard by a 6-5 count to complete a weekend sweep that saw the home side win three games by a total of just four runs.
Eight of Harvard's (1-12) losses this season have come by three runs or fewer and seven by two runs or less. Nine of its 12 losses have come against Top-20 programs. Unfortunately, fielding has been the root of Harvard's problems as the Crimson has lost four straight games and five of its last six on unearned runs.
Harvard broke out to a 4-0 lead through the first two innings on a two-out RBI single by Steven Dill in the first before Jake McGuiggan pounded a three-run home run in the second inning.
Keeping the Crimson within reach, UCF's Brian Adkins retired the first two batters in the fifth but was forced to face a bases-loaded situation with two down. On his next pitch, the southpaw induced Carlton Bailey to ground into a fielder's choice to end the threat. That moment proved to be big as the Knights got on the board in the home half, generated by an infield single, a balk by starter Tanner Anderson (0-1), a fly out and a RBI groundout by James Vasquez.
Trailing 4-1 in the sixth, UCF tied the game on three singles, a walk and a throwing error to make it a 4-4 game.
Searching for its first lead of the day, UCF grabbed it in the seventh without the benefit of a hit as three walks, a hit batsman and an error spelled doom for the Crimson with the Knights claiming a 6-4 lead.
The game was far from over, though. Facing Roman Madrid in the eighth, Harvard pushed a runner across and had runners at first and second with one down. The right-hander locked up the second out with a three-pitch strikeout of Ethan Ferreira, and got McGuiggan chasing at strike three to keep UCF up 6-5.
That set up another save situation for Joe Rogers, who retired the side in order in the ninth.
Harvard out-hit the Knights 10-5 in the game. The Crimson, which out-hit their hosts in all three games by a combined 24-14, was led by Dill's 4-for-4 performance while Bailey had two hits.