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UCF Baseball Walks off in Season Finale, Catching Huge Break in AAC Tournament Bracket

Knights clinch 6-seed in conference tournament with 11-10 11-inning win

The UCF Baseball team hopes to do plenty of celebrating this weekend against Wichita State. (Photo: Derek Warden)
The UCF Baseball team hopes to do plenty of celebrating this weekend against Wichita State.
Photo: Derek Warden

Senior Brandon Hernandez capped off Senior Knight with an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the UCF Knights baseball team a critical 11-10 victory over the Houston Cougars in the team’s regular season finale.

UCF blew leads of 7-1 and 10-8, but finished off the evening with a critical series win over the Cougars.

The win over the Cougars clinches a series win over the #44 team in the RPI. UCF’s series wins this year have come against South Florida, Memphis, Tulane and Houston, of which the Cougars have by far the highest RPI.

With the victory, the Knights clinched the #6 seed for the American Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament in Clearwater next week with a record of 34-20 and 11-13 in the conference. But perhaps more importantly, for a team that’s squarely on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, UCF gets to avoid top-seeded ECU, as well as Houston and UConn on their side of the bracket.

UCF plays their tournament opener on Tuesday, 47 minutes after the conclusion of Cincinnati and Memphis, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

The Tournament format splits the field into two four-team double-elimination brackets. The survivors of both of those brackets play in a winner-take-all championship game on Sunday, May 26th.

South Florida finished in 9th and last place in the conference by virtue of their loss Saturday to Wichita State, eliminating them from the conference tournament, of which they are technically the host.

UCF gets a huge break

The break with the bracket is critical, because here are the resumes for the teams UCF plays on their side:

UCF’s Side of the AAC Baseball Tournament Bracket

Team Record AAC RPI UCF Reg. Season Result
Team Record AAC RPI UCF Reg. Season Result
2 Cincinnati 26-29 13-11 108 Lost 2 of 3 at Cincinnati
3 Tulane 31-24 12-11 94 Won 2 of 3 at Tulane
6 UCF 34-20 11-13 42 --
7 Memphis 27-26 10-13 124 Won 2 of 3 at UCF

Note also that UCF lost the third and final game of its series at Cincinnati on a two-out, two-run walk-off home run:

The ball is very much in UCF’s court in the tournament in Clearwater. As was discussed on our latest podcast, UCF likely needs to win at least two games in Clearwater to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. Catching a break like they did in clinching two of three against Houston makes the Knights’ path to the AAC Tournament Final that much easier.