No. 23 UCF Drops 5-2 Decision to No. 20 Southern Miss

GO KNIGHTS Darnell Sweeney led off for the first time and went 1-for-3 with a double.
Darnell Sweeney led off for the first time and went 1-for-3 with a double.

April 3, 2011

Final Stats

UCF UCF vs. Southern Miss
April 3, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.
Team R H E
Southern Miss 5 8 1
UCF 2 5 2

WP: Thompson (3-0), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 B, 3 K
LP: Hanson (2-1), 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
SV: Day (1), 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Game-Changing Moment
With UCF behind 3-1 in the fourth, the Knights put the first two aboard and looked like it was about to tie it up. But Erik Hempe's line drive towards the left-field corner with no outs was snagged by third baseman Mark Ellis which started a double play, ruining any chance of UCF gaining momentum.

Three Stars
First: USM DH Marc Bourgeois, 2-for-3, 3 RBI
Second: USM SP Jonathan Thompson, WP, 6.0 IP, 1 ER
Third: USM LF Kameron Brunty, 2-for-4, 2 R, SB

By Brian Ormiston

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Reaching the halfway point of the regular season, No. 23 UCF lost the series finale to No. 20 Southern Miss, 5-2, Sunday in Orlando. The Golden Eagles (22-5, 5-1) swept the Conference USA series from the Knights, who dropped to 19-9 on the year and 2-4 in the league.

"First of all you have to give a lot of credit to Southern Miss. They played outstanding all weekend. They are a very good ballclub and very well coached. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way they play the game" said head coach Terry Rooney. "That needs to serve as motivation for our players that we need to keep getting better. We can take nothing for granted and we need to get better every single day."

Southern Miss finished with eight hits, all singles, compared to five hits by the Knights, as there were a total of four sacrifice bunts and two sac flies between the two schools.

UCF starter Ray Hanson worked 5.0 innings with two earned runs against, no walks and four strikeouts, while reliever Joe Rogers tossed the final 4.0 innings and surrendered two runs.

Kameron Brunty greeted Hanson with a run in the top of the first by laying down a bunt single, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring on a sac fly. However the Knights had the quick answer in the bottom half. Leading off for the first time in his career, Darnell Sweeney opened the inning by finding the left-center gap with a double. Following a sac bunt from Travis Shreve, Ronnie Richardson successfully went to right with a grounder to bring in Sweeney.

After a scoreless second, Southern Miss scored once again thanks to another leadoff bunt single, where Justin Diliberto eventually scored on a two-out RBI single from Tyler Koelling. The Golden Eagles then added an unearned run to make it 3-1.

UCF tried to cut into that deficit in the bottom of the third when Travis Shreve got things started with a double only the Knights failed to bring him around. In the fourth, UCF put the first two on only to have Erik Hempe's potential RBI double to left be snagged by third baseman Mark Ellis which turned into a double play.

When reliever Dillon Day took over for starter Jonathan Thompson in the seventh, the Knights again put the tying runner on base and Derek Luciano laid down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position. Sweeney came through with a hard sacrifice fly to left to score Beau Taylor, yet the tying run remained stranded.

Now trailing 3-2, UCF could not even things up as Southern Miss plated two more in the eighth and that was all it needed to pick up the victory.

UCF now looks ahead to facing another highly-ranked opponent when it clashes with No. 3 Florida Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Gainesville.

Game Notes
No. 20 Southern Miss - 22-5 Overall, 5-1 C-USA
No. 23 UCF - 19-9 Overall, 2-4 C-USA
-Combined attendance for the three-game series was 3,681, marking the eighth-highest attended series in stadium history.
-Third baseman Derek Luciano made the best catch of the year in the sixth inning, grabbing a fly ball in foul territory with Adam Doleac at the plate and going head over heels over the fence.
-The road team has now swept the series between UCF and Southern Miss in each of the last three seasons.
-Southern Miss entered Sunday with a RPI of No. 2 in the country according to On Tuesday, the Knights will tangle with Florida which sits at No. 1. Next weekend UCF hosts Tulane which has a RPI of No. 43 as of Sunday.



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