Chris Williams Leads Knights to Shutout, Elimination of USF

The University of Central Florida advances to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament after shutting out the University of South Florida.

University of Central Florida pitcher Chris Williams pitches the ball during a 9-1 win over the University of Central Florida at Jay Bergman Field on Friday, May 19, 2017. (Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)
(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

Game Recap

The University of Central Florida has fared well against its rival, the University of South Florida, in their past three games. After clinching an American Athletic Conference regular-season title with wins over the Bulls in the final two regular-season games, UCF (40-19) shut out USF (41-17) 12-0 in both teams’ most recent AAC Tournament matchup on Friday at Spectrum Field.

UCF’s shutout effort was largely due in part to starter Chris Williams’ performance, as 6.2 of his 8.0 innings of work were hitless. Williams (5-3) allowed just two hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts. USF’s Peter Strzelecki (3-4) recorded the loss after 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Strzelecki also recorded the loss in UCF’s title-clinching win in both teams’ regular-season finale.

Both teams remained scoreless for five innings until the Knights unloaded a seven-run sixth inning to take a late, commanding lead. After left fielder Kyle Marsh reached first on an error, base hits by first baseman Rylan Thomas and third baseman Kam Gellinger loaded the bases with one out. Second baseman Matthew Mika’s double to left-center field drove in the first two runs of the game.

After designated hitter Ryan Crile drove in Gellinger, catcher Logan Heiser blasted a two-run bomb over the left-field wall. Shortstop Brennan Bozeman’s two-RBI base hit to center field capped the scoring and gave the Knights a 7-0 lead.

Two more runs in the seventh and three more in the ninth effectively held the Bulls at bay for the first of the game. Crile smashed his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot, for a 9-0 lead in the seventh. Sloppy pitching and catching helped UCF score its runs in the ninth, as a hit by pitch and a passed ball gave the Knights their 10th and 11th runs. Right fielder Eli Putnam grounded out to the shortstop to drive in the final run of the game.

Player of the Game: Chris Williams

Williams pitched a near no-hitter, giving up his only two hits in the final stretch of his outing. He helped the Knights to a shutout of a team that had posted 25 runs in four wins against the Knights.

What’s next?

The Knights face the East Carolina Pirates for a first-round rematch in the semifinals of the AAC Tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m. UCF lost to the Pirates in the first round of the tournament 14-3.



  University of South Florida University of Central Florida
Runs 0 12
Hits 2 11
Errors 2 0
Left on Base 4 9
Inning Team Play Score
T6 University of Central Florida Matthew Mika doubled to left-center field, 2 RBIs; Kam Gellinger advanced to third; Rylan Thomas scored; Kyle Marsh scored, unearned 2-0, UCF
T6 University of Central Florida Ryan Crile grounded out to first baseman unassisted, RBI; Matthew Mika advanced to third; Kam Gellinger scored, unearned 3-0, UCF
T6 University of Central Florida Logan Heiser home run to left field, 2 RBIs, team unearned; Matthew Mika scored, unearned 5-0, UCF
T6 University of Central Florida Brennan Bozeman single to center field, advanced to second on throw, 2 RBIs; Eli Putnam scored, team unearned; Luke Hamblin scored, team unearned 7-0, UCF
T7 University of Central Florida Ryan Crile home run to right-center field, 2 RBIs; Matthew Mika scored 9-0, UCF
T9 University of Central Florida Max Wood hit by pitch, RBI; Austin Griffin advanced to second; Matthew Mika advanced to third; Kam Gellinger scored 10-0, UCF
T9 University of Central Florida Max Wood advanced to second on passed ball; Austin Griffin advanced to third on passed ball; Matthew Mika scored on passed ball 11-0, UCF
T9 University of Central Florida Eli Putnam grounded out to shortstop, RBI; Austin Griffin scored, unearned 12-0, UCF

Statistics and Starting Lineups


Player Team IP H R ER BB SO
Chris Williams (5-3) University of Central Florida 8.0 2 0 0 2 7
Peter Strzelecki (3-4) University of South Florida 5.1 6 4 1 3 5
Ryan Valdes University of South Florida 0.2 2 3 3 1 0
Mark Savarese University of South Florida 1.0 2 2 2 1 2
Andrew Perez University of South Florida 1.0 1 3 2 2 1


Player Team AB R H RBI HR BB SB SO
Matthew Mika University of Central Florida 3 3 2 2 0 1 0 0
Ryan Crile University of Central Florida 4 1 1 3 1 0 0 0
Logan Heiser University of Central Florida 4 1 2 2 1 0 0 1
Luke Hamblin University of Central Florida 2 1 1 0 0 3 0 0

USF starting lineup: 1. Kevin Merrell (6) 2. Luke Borders (DH) 3. Coco Montes (4) 4. Chris Chatfield (7) 5 Cameron Montgomery (9) 6. Tyler Dietrich (2) 7. Garrett Zech 8. Duke Stunkel (3) 9. David Villar (5)

USF starting pitcher: Peter Strzelecki (3-3)

UCF starting lineup: 1. Luke Hamblin (8) 2. Eli Putnam (9) 3. Brennan Bozeman (6) 4. Kyle Marsh (7) 5. Rylan Thomas (3) 6. Kam Gellinger (5) 7. Matthew Mika (4) 8. Ryan Crile (DH) 9. Logan Heiser (2)

UCF starting pitcher: Chris Williams (4-3)

For more on UCF sports, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.


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