April 15, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - UCF freshman shortstop Eric Kallstrom hit a pair of home runs and had five RBI to lift the Golden Knights to a 9-2 Conference USA victory over No. 23 Tulane at Zephyr Field on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Knights, who improve to 21-17 and 4-4 in C-USA play, hit three home runs and scored six runs in the sixth inning to pull away from Tulane (22-15, 4-7).
Kallstrom broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth, drilling a three-run home run off of senior right-handed reliever Blake Walker. Senior first baseman Dave Lambert opened the inning with a home run of his own, crushing a solo shot to right field off of junior right-hander Brandon Gomes (4-5) to knot the game at two.
The Golden Knights were not done in the inning. Following a single by freshman center fielder Dave DiNatale, junior designated hitter Matt Horwath hit a two-run shot off of Walker over the wall in left to push the UCF edge to 7-2.
"The sixth inning was big for us in a lot of different ways," said UCF head coach Jay Bergman. "Not only did we hit some home runs, but we needed to get some separation from Tulane and the players needed to feel that. All of the home runs were with two strikes and that is a good sign as far as your hitters are concerned."
Making his first C-USA start, freshman left-handed pitcher Mitch Houck (3-1) earned the win for the Golden Knights, going 7.2 innings. Houck allowed only four hits and fanned nine Green Wave batters while walking six.
"Mitch kept the game under control," said Bergman. "He was really impressive today and had a very good outing."
Kallstrom added a two-run home run in the seventh off of freshman right-hander Nathan Newman. He finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate. Kallstrom is now tied for first on the team with four home runs this year.
The Golden Knights tied the game at one in the third when senior catcher Ryan Bono
singled to left to score DiNatale from second. Tulane senior left fielder Matt Riser threw a bullet to junior catcher Ty Wallace to get the runner out at home, but DiNatale slid under the tag for UCF's first run of the game.
Tulane opened the game with one run in the first. After sophomore second baseman Brad Emaus walked and then moved to second on a balk by Houck, freshman right fielder Warren McFadden singled to left to plate the Emaus. The hosts went up 2-1 in the fifth when Riser singled past junior second baseman Matt Ray to score sophomore shortstop Cat Everett from second.
The teams will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, with the first pitch set for 2 p.m. Eastern. The contest will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740-THE TEAM AM. Audio is also available on www.UCFathletics.com as part of the Golden Knights All-Access package.
Game Notes: UCF hit four home runs in a game for the first time since March 12, 2005 (versus Campbell)... Eric Kallstrom's two homers in a single-game were the most since Dee Brown had two at Mercer on May 6, 2005... Kiko Vazquez started at third base for the first time this season... Ryan Bono was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, giving him 47 for his career. Bono is now the school's all-time leader in the category, passing current Golden Knight assistant coach Rich Wallace, who was hit 46 times during his career (2000-03)... Mitch Houck was starting in UCF's weekend rotation for the first time this season.