ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind its third-straight 10-plus hit game, the No. 19 UCF baseball team rolled past Siena, 12-4, in its 15th-consecutive victory of the series Friday night from the UCF baseball complex.
Junior first basemen D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) smashed his third home run of the year with a three-run shot in the seventh inning to give him 18 RBI on the season and extend his Conference-USA lead in the category.
"The highlight of the night for me was our offense. We put together some very good at-bats in the early to middle part of the game against an outstanding starting pitcher for Siena," UCF head coach Terry Rooney said after the game.
UCF entered the scoring column in the first after Chris Taladay (Windermere, Fla.) hit his second sacrifice fly of the season to deep right to plate Darnell Sweeney (Mirarmar, Fla.). Patient at-bats by the Knights (8-2) caused Siena starter Justin Brantley to throw 28 pitches in the frame.
Sophomore Ben Lively (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) got all of the offense he needed early on as he went five innings and tossed two-hit one-run ball with six strikeouts for his second victory of the year.
In the fourth, he worked himself into a jam after giving up a leadoff walk then a double to left center. With the bases loaded and only one out, the power-righty struck out two Saints (1-8) and limited the damage to just one run.
UCF made Siena pay for leaving the bases juiced in the top-half of the fourth as it added three more runs on the board on three hits and an error.
Freshman James Vasquez (Palm City, Fla.) started off the inning by extending his hitting streak to five games with a shot past the second basemen. After an Alex Friedrich (Orlando, Fla.) walk, junior Nick Carrillo (Glendale, Ariz.) reached on a fielder's choice with the first basemen sending a ball into left field to allow Vasquez to score. Senior Travis Shreve (Auburn, Wash.) sent a one-hopper over first base to plate both Friedrich and Carrillo to give the Knights a 4-1 lead.
After the seventh-inning stretch, UCF knocked in six more runs to go up 11-1. In their last two home games, the Knights have scored a combined 12 runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior catcher Ryan Breen (Palm City, Fla.) blasted his second double of year to left center to kick off the frame and was driven home by Friedrich who laced a ball to left center as well. Carrillo smacked a RBI double down the right-field line for his second hit of the night and eventually gave way to Hicks who bashed a 2-0 pitch to dead center for a three-run shot and his third homer of the year.
While the Knights' offense was clicking, so was the pitching of freshman Garrett Nuss (Sorrento, Fla.). The rookie right-hander mowed down Saints batters for three innings in relief of Lively, using only 32 pitches, and striking out three, in his fourth appearance of 2012.
UCF will take the field for game two with Siena tomorrow at 4 p.m. The contest can be seen live on CBS All-Access.
News and Notes:
-Junior SS Darnell Sweeney extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double to left center in the fourth inning
-UCF extended its lead in the all-time series over Siena to 35-3
-The bottom third of the lineup continues to produce as Friedrich, Carrillo and Shreve combined for four hits and four RBI on the evening