No. 2 UCF Loses to Auburn in Regional Opener

The University of Central Florida loses another opener in another double-elimination tournament game this year.

University of Central Florida outfielder Luke Hamblin hits the ball during a 3-2 win over the University of South Florida to claim a share of the American Athletic Conference regular-season title at Jay Bergman Field on Saturday, May 20, 2017. (Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)
(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

Game Recap

In its first regional-tournament game since 2012, the University of Central Florida couldn’t find a winning touch. The Knights (40-21) lost to the No. 3-seeded Auburn Tigers (36-24) 7-4 at Dick Howser Stadium in the NCAA regional tournament in Tallahassee.

Righty Keegan Thompson (7-4) got the win and the start on the mound, going 8.0 innings with nine strikeouts and allowing two runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk. Senior Robby Howell (10-1) notched his first loss of the season after working 7.0 innings with four strikeouts, allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and five walks.

Entering the top of the eighth inning, UCF trailed just 4-1 before Auburn unloaded a three-run homer to effectively keep the game out of reach for the No. 2-seeded Knights. With one out, right fielder Jay Estes and left fielder Sam Gillikin hit back-to-back singles to pressure Knights pitcher Trent Thompson. On the very next batter, shortstop Will Holland homered to left-center field for a 7-1 Tigers lead.

UCF countered with a Luke Hamblin sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the eighth to make it a five-run game, but their ultimate effort in the ninth came up short.

After shortstop Brennan Bozeman hit a lead-off double, a Kyle Marsh groundout and a Rylan Thomas strikeout put UCF in what proved to be an insurmountable situation. Third baseman Kam Gellinger drove a home run over the right-field wall to make it a 7-4 game, but Dallas Beaver’s looking strikeout ended the game.

Scoring came early for both teams, as Auburn posted a two-spot in the second off an Estes double and an error by Thomas at first. Thomas made up for his mistake with a solo shot to right-center field to make it 2-1 entering the third.

Player of the Game: Will Holland

Holland effectively put the game out of reach for UCF with his three-run bomb in the top of the eighth. Though UCF was able to retaliate with a run of their own in the eighth, the Knights’ two-spot in the ninth was not enough to win. Holland finished 2-for-4 with two runs, three RBIs, a double and a home run.

What’s next?

UCF will play the winner of the Florida State University-Tennessee Tech University game on Saturday at noon.



University of Central Florida Auburn University
Runs 4 7
Hits 6 13
Errors 2 0
Left on Base 3 5
Inning Team Play Score
T2 Auburn University Jay Estes doubled down left-field line, RBI; Blake Logan scored 1-0, AUB
T2 Auburn University Sam Gillkin reached on muffed throw by first baseman; Jay Estes advanced to third, scored on error, unearned 2-0, AUB
B2 University of Central Florida Rylan Thomas home run to center field, RBI 2-1, AUB
T6 Auburn University Josh Anthony singled through left side, advanced to second on throw, RBI; Dylan Ingram advanced to third; Daniel Robert advanced to third, out at home left fielder to catcher; Luke Jarvis scored 3-1, AUB
T7 Auburn University Josh Anthony singled to shortstop, RBI; Dylan Ingram advanced to second; Daniel Robert advanced to third, out at home shortstop to catcher; Will Holland scored 4-1, AUB
T8 Auburn University Will Holland home run to left-center field, 3 RBIs; Sam Gillikin scored; Jay Estes scored 7-1, AUB
B8 University of Central Florida Luke Hamblin flew out to center fielder to left-center field, sacrifice fly, RBI; Matthew Mika advanced to third; Ryan Crile scored 7-2, AUB
B9 University of Central Florida Kam Gellinger home run to right field, 2 RBIs; Brennan Bozeman scored 7-4, AUB

Statistics and Starting Lineups


Player Team IP H R ER BB SO
Keegan Thompson (7-4) Auburn University 8.0 4 2 2 1 9
Robby Howell (10-1) University of Central Florida 7.0 10 4 3 5 4
Trent Thompson University of Central Florida 1.0 3 3 3 0 0


Player Team AB R H RBI HR BB SB SO
Will Holland Auburn University 4 2 2 3 1 0 0 0
Josh Anthony Auburn University 5 0 2 2 0 0 0 0
Dylan Ingram Auburn University 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Kam Gellinger University of Central Florida 4 1 1 2 1 0 0 2
Rylan Thomas University of Central Florida 4 1 1 1 1 0 0 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. Logan Heiser (2) 8. Ryan Crile (DH) 9. Matthew Mika (4)

UCF starting pitcher: Robby Howell (10-0)

Auburn starting lineup: 1. Jonah Todd (8) 2. Luke Jarvis (4) 3. Daniel Robert (3) 4. Dylan Ingram (DH) 5. Josh Anthony (5) 6. Blake Logan (2) 7. Jay Estes (9) 8. Sam Gillikin (7) 9. Will Holland (6)

Auburn starting pitcher: Keegan Thompson (6-4)

For more on UCF baseball’s progress in their first NCAA regional since 2012, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.


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