March 30, 2007
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Game Notes for Saturday, March 31
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Birmingham, Ala. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Some early fielding mistakes let UAB jump out to a big lead Friday and the Blazers went on to take game one of the Conference USA series with the UCF baseball team, 15-5. The loss marked the first time ever that the Knights (16-14 overall) opened league play with a 0-4 record.
In his first-career weekend start, and first appearance since defeating Michigan State March 6, freshman Carmine Giardina (1-1) lasted 2.1 innings and gave up nine runs, only four of which were earned. For the UAB offense, Danny Sawyer led the way with four RBI while Ryne Lovdahl scored four runs.
UCF and UAB (13-15, 1-0) both placed a runner at second with one down in their respective first innings, but neither could take the early lead. However, the Blazers capitalized on a two-out error in the second to plate two unearned runs off a triple by Allen Aubin. UAB did record a two-out error of its own the next time the Knights stepped to the plate, but they could not convert the chance into any runs.
The Blazers came right back in the third, plating three runs before recording an out. They eventually loaded the bases thanks to a passed ball on a strikeout, and a walk made it 6-0. The UCF coaching staff went to the pen to bring in Kyle Sweat, who issued a free pass to the first batter he faced. A third Golden Knight error and the second of the inning helped UAB's cause, and a sacrifice fly pushed it to 9-0. In all, three of the seven UAB runs in the frame were unearned.
Two quick outs make things look bleak in the fifth inning for the Knights. It was a Chadd Hartman single up the middle that finally allowed UCF to start to rattle starting pitcher Mitch Kloskowski. The righty was cruising until the base hit, and then he walked four-straight to permit two runs to score. Still with the bases juiced, Ryan Richardson got to 2-1 before swinging straight through a fastball. He solved Kloskowski on the next pitch, though, which would end up being his last. Richardson found the gap in right-center field that went all of the way to the wall, clearing the bags to bring the score to 9-5.
UCF failed to take its momentum into the next inning, and UAB wanted to get those runs back in the sixth by getting two leadoff singles, both on bunt attempts. A few batters later, Sawyer notched a two-run single and Jonathan Merritt brought in the third run of the inning on a fielder's choice.
Unable to harvest any more runs, UCF saw UAB add three more in the bottom of the eighth to bring the final score to 15-5. Kasey Croft (1-0) picked up the win for the Blazers by pitching the final 4.1 innings without giving up a run.
The two programs were originally scheduled to play a single game both Saturday and Sunday. However, the threat of poor weather has altered those plans as UCF and UAB will now play a doubleheader Saturday with game one set for 1 p.m. and the finale at 6:30 p.m. 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: Kasey Croft (1-0), 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Carmine Giardina (1-1), 2.1 IP, 6 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
- Matt Horwath came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and recorded his 100th career base hit by doubling to the gap in left center.
- The Knights recorded a season-high four double plays in the loss.
- Kyle Sweat completed his relief outing with 4.2 innings of work, surrendering three runs on seven hits.
- UCF and ISP Sports have added three games to the 2007 baseball broadcast schedule. The entire series at Rice April 20-22 will now be available for fans, with game one featured as an internet-only broadcast, and the final two games over the airwaves at 740-AM The Team (as well as www.UCFAthletics.com).
- Orlando and Timber Creek HS product Derek Abriola will make his first-career start in game one Saturday. The senior has made 53 career appearances for the Knights before this weekend, all in relief.