Central Florida took back its share of first place in the Mid-Florida Conference on Friday, beating Daytona State 5-2 behind a masterful bullpen effort from Chris Labriola.
The Patriots (21-10, 6-2 MFC) avenged Wednesday's 5-4 loss at Daytona and tied the Falcons (12-10, 6-2 MFC) and Lake-Sumter in a three-way deadlock atop the conference standings with one-third of the MFC schedule in the books.
CF's offense managed to manufacture just enough runs to help Labriola construct an impressive victory. The Patriots scored twice in the first inning and plated a run apiece in the second, fifth and sixth frames. Paul Karmeris drove in 2 of the runs, while Dru Jones and Jordan Zech had 2 hits each.
But Labriola was the game's breakout star. The sophomore lefthander entered the game in the fourth inning and yielded almost nothing to the potent Falcons offense, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 3 over 6 shutout innings. Only two Falcons reached scoring position on his watch - one of them on an infield throwing error - and he retired Daytona in order three times, including the ninth.
CF's conference schedule continues Saturday with a visit to Santa Fe.