April 28, 2006
ORLANDO - In a classic pitching dual between two of the nation's top starting pitchers, No. 1 Rice scored a pair of runs off UCF starter Tim Bascom in the top of the ninth inning to give the Owls a 2-0 shutout victory over the host Golden Knights in Conference USA action Friday evening at Jay Bergman Field. A spirited crowd of 1,018 witnessed Bascom and Rice starter Eddie Degerman square off in one of the top pitching match-ups in college baseball this season.
"We created opportunities to win the ballgame and we had our chances tonight," stated UCF head coach Jay Bergman. "Rice took advantage of its one chance tonight and that was it. It was a great ballgame and Tim really threw a terrific game."
Both pitchers settled in early and set the tone from the outset. Bascom (5-4) was sharp all night long, striking out two Rice batters in the first inning. The junior finished the night with seven strikeouts over 8.1 innings of work. He scattered eight hits and allowed both runs in a losing effort.
Degerman tossed seven shutout innings and fanned nine Golden Knights. The senior right-hander limited UCF to three hits and walked three batters.
UCF had a huge opportunity in the fifth inning to break the scoreless tie as the Golden Knights loaded the bases with no outs, but Degerman struck out freshmen Shane Ynclan and Steve Stropp and induced a groundout by freshman Eric Kallstrom to end the threat.
The game remained scoreless until Rice finally scored two runs in the top of the ninth. Shortstop Brian Friday singled and third baseman Josh Rodriguez followed with a single to left and advanced to second on an error by UCF left fielder Chadd Hartman to put runners on second and third with no outs. After Bascom issued an intentional walk and recorded a groundout, right fielder Jordan Dodson singled to left to score two runs to put Rice in front, 2-0.
Rice reliever Cole St. Clair started the ninth inning by hitting the first two batters, but got out of the jam after freshman right fielder Dave DiNatale
bunted back to the pitcher for a force out at third and St. Clair fanned freshman first baseman Kiko Vazquez
and Stropp to end the contest.
St. Clair (4-2) had two strikeouts in two innings of work for the win.
The series continues Saturday at 6:30 p.m. from Jay Bergman Field.
Game Notes: The 1,018 fans in attendance was the 24th largest crowd in Jay Bergman Field history ... Steve Stropp made his first career start at third base ... He is the sixth Golden Knight to play third base this season ... UCF is 1-4 vs. ranked teams this season and 6-7 all-time vs. ranked opponents at Jay Bergman Field ... Top-ranked Rice is the highest-ranked opponent to play at Jay Bergman Field ... Sophomore center fielder Tyson Auer made one of the top defensive plays in stadium history with a diving catch in center field for a thrilling double play in the eighth inning.