UCF junior righty Owen Dew threw 8.1 innings and picked up two double plays late in the game to defeat the Rice Owls, 6-4, on Saturday.
Because of Dew's effort, the Knights improved to 24-13 on the year and 6-5 in Conference USA play.
"He has come so far since the fall," Coach Rooney said. "The results are obviously tremendous.
"But if you follow baseball and pitching, you could see how he was in total control with his emotions the whole time. That was the performance of the year, and to see guys work really hard and then get rewarded like that is awesome."
Posting UCF's longest start since a complete-game by Mitch Herold vs. Stetson April 9, 2008, Dew finished the afternoon by surrendering nine hits, all singles, and walking only two.
"I've really been working on hard on just breathing, it's as simple as that," Dew said. When the game is fast-paced, the ball gets up on me. I just needed to breathe, settle down between each pitch and go one pitch at a time."
Dew would enter the ninth with 92 pitches to his credit and a 6-2 cushion, thanks to the hits of Shane Brown, Darnell Sweeney, and Chris Duffy, who led the way with two apiece.
The next matchup with the Owls is scheduled for Sunday at 12 noon.