April 26, 2008
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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF baseball team witnessed No. 4 Rice score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the Owls held on for a 4-3 victory Saturday at Jay Bergman Field. The loss to Rice (33-11, 14-3) dropped the Knights to 27-17 on the year and 5-12 in Conference USA.
Freshman Evan Stobbs was masterful in his 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, helping UCF remain tied with Rice through eight frames. The righty matched a career-high with five strikeouts and gave up just two hits in his ninth outing of the year. With the sticks, senior Ryan Richardson and junior Brandon Romans each had two hits and a double, while senior Tyson Auer extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Facing UCF starter Mitch Herold, Rice did not have to hit the ball out of the infield to score its first run in the second. Aaron Luna was hit by a pitch and Jimmy Comerota hit a potential double-play ball to short but it took a bad hop and struck junior Eric Kallstrom in the chest. Diego Seastrunk then softly grounded out to third to allow Luna to score. Chad Mozingo concluded the frame with a RBI single up the middle.
Trailing 2-0, the Knights quickly answered with a run in the bottom half vs. Chris Kelley. Kallstrom led off with a single, advanced to second on a Romans sacrifice, touched third on a wild pitch and scored when Auer ripped a 3-2 pitch into the right-side that second baseman Comerota dove to his left for only to see it glance off his glove for the single.
Following a scoreless third by both teams, the Owls put two aboard with no outs in the fourth and capitalized by plating a run on a RBI hit from Seastrunk. Once again, UCF kept it within one the next time it strode to the dish, making it 3-2 on a groundout from Auer as Kallstrom came across for the second time of the evening.
Rice was back at it in the fifth and loaded them up with nobody down. With the Owls looking to put some distance between them and the Knights, UCF went to its bullpen for Stobbs, who induced Luna to bounce into a 1-2-3 double play on the first pitch. After a two-out walk, Stobbs got Comerota to look at strike three with the count full to get out of the inning unharmed.
Stobbs' effort paved the way for the offense to tie it up at 3-3 in the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Josh Siebenaler got it going with a leadoff walk, reached second on a wild pitch and traveled to third on a groundout. Eventually with two down, Richardson blooped a run-scoring double down the left-field line vs. reliever Bobby Bell.
The bullpens dominated in the sixth and seventh, including a stretch where Stobbs retired nine-straight Owls before allowing a two-out hit to Comerota in the eighth. Comerota attempted to keep the inning going by stealing second, and was waved around third on a single up the middle from Seastrunk. However, Auer scooped up it up in center and fired a strike to Romans who successfully blocked the plate and tagged out Comerota to complete the inning.
Although Stobbs and the defense kept the game knotted at 3-3, Rice finally ended the deadlock with a two-out RBI single by Rick Hague in the ninth. Cole St. Clair hurled the final 3.1 innings to secure the win, even though UCF had a runner at third and just one out in the bottom of the ninth. Romans led off the stanza with a double to right, and was sacrificed over to third by Auer. But St. Clair struck out Stephen Branca and got senior Dwayne Bailey to line out to right.
The series finale vs. Rice is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch Sunday.
UCF baseball single-game tickets are currently available by contacting the UCF Ticket Office at 407-823-1000, or by going online at www.ucfathletics.com, the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
No. 4 Rice - 33-11 Overall, 14-3 Conference USA
UCF - 27-17 Overall, 5-12 Conference USA
WP: Cole St. Clair (7-2), 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
LP: Carmine Giardina (3-2), 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- Saturday's attendance was 1,504, the 11th largest in Jay Bergman Field history. Meanwhile, 2,813 have come out for the first two games of the series, which already ranks as the 10th-highest attended series since the ballpark opened in 2001.
- Colin Arnold's hitting streak was snapped at 10 games.
- Kiko Vazquez was 1-for-2 to extend his hitting streak to seven games dating back to last year.
- Starting pitcher Mitch Herold completed his outing with 4.0 innings of work, striking out two while allowing only one earned run on five hits.