No. 23 UCF Gets Strong Outing from Bradford in Win vs. No. 20 Stetson

GO KNIGHTS Erik Hempe was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI Tuesday night.
Erik Hempe was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI Tuesday night.

March 29, 2011

Final Stats

UCF UCF vs. Stetson
March 29, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.
Team R H E
Stetson 2 10 3
UCF 8 14 0

WP: Bradford (2-1), 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
LP: Dorsey (3-3), 3.0 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
The game was put away in the seventh inning Tuesday. UCF took a 6-2 lead into the stanza where Nick Cicio was faced with a bases loaded situation and two outs. Falling behind 3-1, the southpaw got Mark Jones to fly out to center to end the threat. And in the home half, Travis Shreve drove in UCF's seventh run on a RBI groundout.

Three Stars
First: UCF SP Chase Bradford, WP, 6.0 IP, 2 R, 4 K
Second: UCF RF Erik Hempe, 3-for-3, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 BB
Third: UCF SS Darnell Sweeney, 2-for-4, 2 RBI, R, BB, 2B, SB

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By Brian Ormiston

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Senior Chase Bradford (Henderson, Nev.) delivered a career-high 6.0 innings in his first start as a Knight to guide No. 23 UCF to an 8-2 victory against No. 20 Stetson in Orlando. Tuesday's clash marked the first time the two clubs met with both teams being ranked since 2001, and the win lifted the Knights to a 19-6 overall record in 2011.

"I was pleased with our victory and I thought our guys battled hard throughout the night," said head coach Terry Rooney. "We talked the entire week about how we had not won a Tuesday game at home. We played three Tuesday games and came up short on all three of them. So mentally we prepared differently and made the adjustment."

In his victory over the Hatters (20-6), Bradford (2-1) finished with four strikeouts, walking one and allowing two runs on seven hits.

"I felt really good today and it was a whole team effort," said Bradford. "I was very anxious and nervous because it had been awhile since I started. But I settled down after the first inning."

The Knights are now 4-2 against ranked teams this year, and have four more games against ranked opponents later this week.

Bradford was backed by a 14-hit attack, with Erik Hempe going a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and a double, while Travis Shreve, Darnell Sweeney, Jonathan Griffin and Beau Taylor all came away with two hits on the night.

Bradford opened up the game by walking leadoff man Jeff Simpson after getting ahead 1-2 and that proved painful as he came around to score when Nick Rickles dropped a two-out, 0-2 pitch into right for a RBI single.

In the home half, UCF immediately answered with consecutive one-out doubles from Shreve and Sweeney against righty Will Dorsey. Following Sweeney's ninth stolen base of the year, Chris Taladay delivered a two-strike RBI single to left for a 2-1 lead.

After a long top of the first, Bradford settled down with an eight-pitch second inning, giving way to the offense again who loaded the bases with one away on three singles. In stepped leadoff man Ronnie Richardson who popped up to the pitcher and Shreve struck out looking as a potential big inning was wasted.

However just like the entire year, UCF kept working and it took advantage of a one-out error to score a pair of unearned runs for a 4-1 advantage. With two on and two out, Taylor smashed a RBI single to right and Hempe drove in the second run with an infield single.

Heading to the mound with a three-run cushion, Bradford witnessed a grounder up the middle and a bunt single produce two runners with one down for Stetson in the fourth. Yet the right-hander bounced back to strike out Ryan Lashley and induce Trey Blackman to groundout to third.

The bats resumed its business in the home half of the fourth and a hit-and-run with Shreve up and Richardson at first worked to perfection to get runners at the corners with one out. Shreve would eventually steal second, and Sweeney sent a single off of Dorsey's glove and into the infield grass to make it 5-1.

With two runners still aboard and nobody out, Stetson went to the pen for Cameron Griffin and the lefty promptly threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt to permit Shreve to touch home.

Although Bradford cruised through innings 2-5, Stetson needed to face just two pitches in the sixth to get a couple of hits. Facing Hatters at first and third and no outs, Sean Emory hit the first pitch he saw to the right side and the 4-3 putout made it 6-2, but Bradford easily mowed down the next two batters to escape.

Bradford's day was done though, and in came Nick Cicio in the seventh and Stetson would ultimately bring the tying run to the plate, loading the bases with two outs on two infield singles and a walk. Cicio then fell behind Mark Jones 3-1 before breathing a sigh of relief when the shortstop flew out to center.

Keeping Stetson at bay, UCF also filled the bags in the home half and produced a run on a RBI groundout off the bat of Shreve to bring the lead to 7-2. And the Knights put it away in the eighth when Hempe pounded out a two-out RBI double into the left-field corner, bringing around Griffin for the Black and Gold's eighth and final run.

UCF and Stetson will meet for the final time in 2011 Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in DeLand.

Game Notes
No. 20 Stetson - 20-6 Overall
No. 23 UCF - 19-6 Overall
-UCF was playing its first game as a ranked team since 2008.
-Travis Shreve did not leadoff for the first time all year. Ronnie Richardson served as the leadoff man while Shreve batted second.
-Shreve (19), Darnell Sweeney (9) and Erik Hempe (1) all stole a base Tuesday.
-UCF has now won eight-straight games against Stetson dating back to 2007.
-In the pen, Nick Cicio (2.1 IP) and center fielder Ronnie Richardson (0.2 IP) combined to pitch the final 3.0 innings, not giving up a run and striking out four.
-Game time was 3:21, marking the second-longest of the year for the Knights.
-The contest was televised by Bright House Sports Network, and the next UCF game to air on the network will be April 20 against Florida.



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