For the fifth time this season, the Knights have lost a three-game series with a conference foe. They dropped two of three games to Memphis last weekend, putting their overall conference record at 27-19 overall and 7-11 in Conference USA play.
The Knights had come back in a dramatic ninth inning rally to erase a four-run deficit and draw even with the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, in a desperate bid to win the series.
UCF had been behind since the fifth inning in the wild, back and forth game in which the game was tied or the lead changed seven times.
But after picking up four runs in a dramatic bottom of the ninth rally, Austin Johnston, who had batted .500 and driven in a run in the game before, struck out with two runners in scoring position, ending the rally on the verge of a victory.
A long rally by the Tigers in the top of the 10th only ended when UCF’s Brennan Dobbins
got Memphis’ Adam McClain to fly out with the bases loaded, but by then the damage was already done with a run scored on the Tigers in the lead.
The Knights managed to put together another rally to put two on and a runner in scoring position with two out, but Ryan Breen also struck out with the winning runner on base. Breen had a miserable series as the Knights’ designated hitter, picking up just two hits in 14 plate appearances.
Having lost all but one of their series against conference foes this season, the Knights get a welcome respite with three non-conference games starting at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday versus Jacksonville.
The Tars are closing out their season on a roll with a three-game sweep of Palm Beach Atlantic, capped off with a 9-0 blowout Saturday. Catcher Ben Hewett hammered home two runs in the final game, while Tim Griffin improved to 10-2 with a two-hit complete game shutout.
The Tars are on a six-game winning streak that started against Barry University April 24.
With just two games to go in the final week of the season, the Tars will close it out at home with a conference finale against Florida Southern starting Thursday at 6 p.m. and again Friday at 3 p.m.