Feb. 11, 2005
ORLANDO - UCF junior third baseman John-Michael Howell drilled an estimated 470-foot home run in the seventh inning to propel the Golden Knights to a 10-7 victory over Le Moyne Friday afternoon in game one of a day-night doubleheader. Howell's blast sailed over the UCF bullpen in right field and landed at shortstop on the practice field, adjacent to Jay Bergman Field.
With the win, No. 24 UCF moved to 4-0 on the season. The 4-0 record is UCF's best start since 1996 when the Golden Knights began the season 7-0. Le Moyne dropped to 0-1 in its first game of 2005.
The Golden Knights jumped out to a 6-1 lead after three innings of play. UCF scored one run in the second inning before the Golden Knights plated five runs in the third. The five-run outburst was UCF's highest scoring inning of the year. Redshirt junior Justin Mahon had the key hit in the third with a bases loaded, two-run single.
Mahon also robbed the Dolphins of a run in the first as he scaled the wall in right field to take away an apparent home run by Keith Connors.
UCF starting pitcher Mike Billek was sailing along until the sixth inning when Le Moyne got back into the game with a five-run inning. Phil St. Amant hit a two-run single and Aaron Bulkey hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run off UCF reliever Matt Rhodes to tie the game 6-6.
Billek pitched 5.1 innings and yielded nine hits, five runs (four earned) with five strikeouts.
Le Moyne scored its sixth straight run in the top of the seventh when Connors cleared the fence in right center to give the Dolphins their first lead of the day, 7-6.
UCF scored three important runs in the home half of the seventh to take the lead for good at 9-7. With a runner on and one out, Howell delivered his first career home run as a Golden Knight to give UCF an 8-7 lead. Dee Brown
collected a RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in UCF's ninth run of the game.
Marshall Bernhard added a two-out, RBI-single in the eighth inning to pad the UCF lead to 10-7. Bernhard had a stellar day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBI.
The Golden Knights turned to converted outfielder Drake Wade in the ninth on the mound. In his first collegiate pitching appearance, Wade yielded a hit before collecting the final three outs for his first save.
UCF had 11 hits on the afternoon including two by Bono and Chandler Rose. Le Moyne collected 14 hits in its season opener, including a 3-for-5 performance by Bulkey.
The two teams continue the three-game series Friday evening at 6 p.m.