March 4, 2006
ORLANDO - Monmouth starting pitcher Brad Brach held UCF scoreless for 7.2 innings and allowed just three hits with six strikeouts as the Hawks stunned host UCF 2-1 Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field. Just one day after UCF erupted for 23 runs on 24 hits in Friday's 23-2 victory, the Golden Knight bats were held in check in Saturday's one-run loss.
The Hawks (1-4) captured their first win of the season and their first-ever victory vs. the Golden Knights. Monmouth entered the day 0-13 vs. UCF (5-8).
"This is where this team is at," stated UCF head coach Jay Bergman following the 2-1 loss. "We take one step forward and two steps back."
The one-run setback overshadowed a strong pitching performance by UCF starter Jeremy Thorne (1-2). Making his first career start, the sophomore right-hander pitched well, allowing just two runs on two hits in 4.2 innings of work.
"Jeremy did a good job, he really did," added Bergman. "We gave two runs last night and two runs today and we got a split. That is pretty hard to swallow."
Monmouth scored its two runs in the fifth inning. The Hawks started the inning with back-to-back hits, including a RBI-double by Kyle Messineo to give Monmouth a 1-0 lead. Messineo scored on the next play as Matt Ray could not come up with a grounder at third base to hand the Hawks a 2-0 lead.
The 2-0 lead was enough for Brach (1-1). The sophomore right-hander threw 116 pitches and gave way to Monmouth closer Kevin Schneider in the eighth.
UCF had a chance to tie the game in the eighth, but the Golden Knights left the bases loaded as Schneider worked out of the jam.
The Golden Knights tallied a run in the ninth on a two-out double by Ray to close the gap to 2-1. With runners on second and third and two outs, Schneider induced a groundout by junior shortstop Matt Horwath to end the game. The save was the first of the season for Schneider.
Both teams finished with six hits, including two each by Ray and sophomore center fielder Tyson Auer
The two teams return to action for the rubber game of the three-game series Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: Freshman right fielder Dave DiNatale had his seven-game hitting streak come to an end. DiNatale was 0-for-3 with a walk ... UCF's bullpen threw 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball Saturday. Juniors Brian Brooks and Derek Abriola combined for four strikeouts.