April 26, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) - Winter Park junior Shane Brown tied an NCAA record by reaching base in 18-straight plate appearances as UCF ran away with a 12-6 victory over UAB Sunday in Birmingham. The second baseman fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle by going 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs to lift the Knights (15-26, 5-10 Conference USA) to the series win over the Blazers (24-20, 6-9).
"It was awesome, I was seeing the ball very well all weekend," said Brown. "It seemed like every time I swung it fell for a hit or I got hit by a pitch or walked. I knew (I was closing in on the record) when I read about it online, but I tried not to think about it. At the end of the season when it sinks in it will be crazy, but right now it's amazing just thinking about not getting out for that long of a period."
Brown matched the UCF record held by Odie Koehnke of 17-consecutive times aboard when he doubled in the third inning. He then dug in for the fifth and promptly singled to right, breaking Koehnke's 1985 school record and tying Cal State Northridge's Shaun Larkin, who also reached base in 18-straight appearances in 2002.
The streak by Brown started with doubles in the seventh and eighth innings vs. Stetson April 21. He then got on all eight times vs. UAB Friday and on five more occasions Saturday. Brown's streak may have come to an end when he flew out to left in the sixth inning Sunday, but he still finished the four-game week with a .722 average (13-for-18), 10 runs, five doubles, two homers, 1.333 slugging percentage and a .783 on-base percentage.
In the three-game series alone, Brown was 11-for-13 for a .846 average with nine runs, 1.538 slugging percentage and an .889 on-base percentage.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence right now," said head coach Terry Rooney. "Shane Brown is a self-made clutch player. He's made himself into a tremendous baseball player and he continues to improve. He continues to do a great job offensively but just as impressive is the improvement he has been making at second base. He's played a couple of different positions for us so for him to solidify that position has been a big boost for this team. And on top of it he made some great plays defensively this weekend."
Senior Kiko Vazquez continued his trek up the UCF all-time list for homers by crushing a three-run dinger in the fifth. It was the first baseman's 27th career blast to take over sole possession of sixth in Knight history.
While Brown and Vazquez controlled UAB pitching, UCF's starting hurler dazzled as well. Senior Jaager Good went a season-high 6.0 innings and allowed just three runs on four hits while sitting down four on strikes.
"I talked last week to our team about these two weeks being the big push and we have to take care of business to get to the postseason," explained Rooney. "So far they have responded. We do have a ways to go but I said before today that we needed to treat it like the postseason. And to win in the postseason, guys need to step up and today Jaager Good was that guy for us. When the team needed him most, he had his best outing of the year."
Back in the lineup after an injury, senior Eric Kallstrom served as the first baserunner when he drew a four-pitch one-out walk in the top of the first against righty Kyle Roberson. After seeing another pitch on the outside part, Brown jumped on the next offering, demolishing a two-run shot into the trees to the right of the batter's eye wall in center. UAB also would score in its initial trip to the plate to tie it at two.
Brown was at it again in the third even though he fell behind 0-2. The inning kicked off with a sharp single from senior Colin Arnold and a sac bunt laid down by Kallstrom. That was when Brown put the Knights back on top with a double to the right-center gap, which was his 17th-straight time aboard. Later with the bases juiced and one down, Vazquez pushed it to 4-2 on a fielder's choice.
After Good escaped a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the third, UAB tacked on one in the fourth by way of a sac fly. But the Knights' offense returned in impressive fashion in the fifth. Kallstrom, who entered as UCF's best hitter in C-USA games, cranked a double just inside the third-base bag. That set up Brown, who went the opposite way on a 0-1 pitch for a single that moved him into a tie for the NCAA mark. But it also kept the inning going.
Kallstrom eventually scored in the frame on a fielding error, and with runners on first and second, Vazquez greeted reliever Tristan Farrell with a three-run job which left fielder Cody McMurry took one step back and quickly realized he had no chance. It was Vazquez's 11th long ball of the year.
Now amassing an 8-3 advantage, the Black and Gold stretched it further thanks to a RBI single from junior Chris Duffy in the seventh, and a solo shot to right by Arnold in the eighth. It was the outfielder's fourth four-bagger of 2009 and the fifth in two seasons with the Knights.
Freshman D.J. Hicks, who got the save as well in 3.0 innings on the hill, capped off UCF's impressive weekend by sending a no-doubt, two-run home run to right. It was his second of the year, coming two days after he recorded career homer No. 1 in the Knights' 29-9 win Friday. The Blazers did add three in the ninth but the deficit was too much to overcome.
A pair of midweek games are now in store for the Knights as they host USF Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Tampa to finish off the 2009 series with the Bulls Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Baseball flex pack voucher packages as well as single game tickets are on sale for the 2009 campaign. Call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 for more information. Fans may also visit UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, and is the home of UCF's online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
UCF - 15-26 Overall, 5-10 Conference USA
UAB - 24-20 Overall, 6-9 Conference USA
WP: Jaager Good (1-4), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
LP: Kyle Roberson (6-4), 4.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
SV: D.J. Hicks (2), 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
- Combined with the UCF record 29 runs Friday and eight runs Saturday, the Knights plated 49 runs in the series at UAB, setting the program record for the most runs in a league series. The previous record was 45 against Campbell in 2005. The 49 runs were the most in a three-game series overall since UCF scored 50 vs. Florida A&M last year.
- The Knights finished the three-game series with 56 hits.
- With the series win at UAB, UCF has now claimed two-straight C-USA road series (also took two of three at Memphis). That marks the first time since 2005 that the Knights, who were in the Atlantic Sun at the time, won back-to-back league road series.
- Kiko Vazquez's 11th dinger of 2009 moved him back into a tie for the team lead with Brandon Romans, who hit his 11th long ball in game one vs. UAB.
- Shane Brown not only completed his streak of 18-straight times on base, he also had a hitting streak of 22 games earlier this season.
- Colin Arnold and D.J. Hicks each posted three hits, while eight of UCF's nine starters scored at least one run.
- UCF homered four times Sunday, the second time in three games it cranked out four home runs.