Feb. 4, 2007
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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF banged out 14 hits and its pitching staff successfully worked out of a few jams as the Golden Knights (1-1) posted their first victory of 2007, a 9-3 triumph over Florida International (1-1) Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. Steve Stropp and Kiko Vazquez combined for six hits and four RBI, while Tyson Auer tied a career high with three runs scored in the win.
"I think we saw what our team really is today compared to yesterday," said head coach Jay Bergman. "Offensively, yesterday we were trying to pull balls that we shouldn't pull against a soft left-hander. Today we got at least half of our hits to the opposite side. I think that is the type of team we are. I also thought all of our pitchers pitched well. We tried to get as many guys out there this weekend as we could."
Eric English, a sophomore transfer from LSU, came on in relief to get the victory, tossing 3.1 innings and giving up only one run.
Senior lefty Brian Brooks served as the UCF starter, and worked himself into some trouble in the first inning, putting two runners in scoring position with one down. He then needed seven pitches to force Luis Bautista to ground out back to the mound, and Tyler Townsend to pop up to third to escape without any damage. That paved the way for the Golden Knights to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom half. Auer led things off with a single to right, and was sacrificed over to second by Ryan Richardson. Following a balk, Auer scored on a ground out to second from Brandon Romans.
Brooks allowed two runners to reach in the second and managed to keep the Golden Panthers scoreless once again. UCF returned to the plate where Stropp laced a lead-off double to left in his first at-bat of the season. However, he was stranded at third to keep UCF on top by one.
Richardson opened the next frame by getting on board thanks to an infield single, and Romans reached when he was plunked on the shoulder. After Richardson stole third, he scored on a wild pitch. Vazquez then took advantage of having Romans at second, ripping a single to center to stretch the lead to 3-0. A walk to Chris Duffy forced FIU to go to the pen, as it brought in Chris Siebenaler. The move failed to work as Stropp connected on a 1-2 pitch for his second-straight double, driving in Vazquez. FIU did get the first out when Duffy tried to score on a wild pitch, but UCF stretched it to 5-0 on the next play. Ryan Williams hit a roller to third and Stropp took off for home. Bautista took the throw only to see Stropp blast the ball out of his glove and touch home safely.
Florida International did brighten up its portion of the scoreboard in the fourth, getting a run on a fielder's choice. Now with a 5-1 advantage, UCF struck back for two in the bottom portion of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Dwayne Bailey and Auer got things going, and after a strike out and a wild pitch, Romans was intentionally walked. With the bases juiced, Vazquez placed a single to center, driving in two runs. Romans made it 8-1 in the sixth with an RBI single, plating Bailey from third.
FIU did not want to go away too easily, filling the bases with nobody out in the top of the seventh. English dug in and only surrendered just one run on a ground out to second. A Chris Dunn two-out RBI single in the eighth off Mitch Houck brought it to 8-3, which did not last when UCF came to the plate in its half. Auer sent a triple to the fence in right center, and immediately scored the final run of the afternoon with a base hit from Richardson.
UCF will try and take its momentum from Sunday into next weekend when it hosts No. 15 TCU for three games Feb. 9-11. For the latest news and information on the Golden Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.
WP: Eric English (1-0), 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
LP: Chris Allen (0-1), 2.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
- The top five UCF hitters combined to go 12-for-25 in the win.
- Dwayne Bailey was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, two walks and a stolen base.
- Sunday's win was head coach Jay Bergman's 1,157th-career win. He needs just one more to move into a tie for 21st on the NCAA Division I all-time list.
- Senior Brian Brooks made just his fourth career start. He made only one in 2006.