May 6, 2006
HOUSTON - Freshman left-hander Mitch Houck held tenth-ranked Houston to one run on two hits in six innings of work, but the host Cougars scored four runs off three UCF relievers in the seventh inning to give UH a 5-2 victory Saturday evening at Cougar Field. UCF held a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning, but Houston scored four runs with two outs to complete the come-from-behind victory.
The loss was UCF's seventh straight in Conference USA play as the Golden Knights dropped to 23-26 overall and 5-12 in league play. Houston raised its record to 33-17 and 16-4 in C-USA.
The Golden Knights dropped to eighth place in C-USA with the loss, just one-half game in front of UAB in the conference standings.
Houston right-hander Ricky Hargrove held UCF to two runs on nine hits in 8.2 innings. Hargrove (7-4) finished the game with a career-high nine strikeouts.
UCF scored first on one swing in the second as freshman catcher Steve Stropp launched his team-leading fifth home run of the season to put the Golden Knights in front, 1-0.
The Golden Knights added another single run in the third on a two-out, RBI-single by freshman right fielder Dave DiNatale to extend the lead to 2-0.
Houston's Luis Flores launched his eighth homer of the season in the fourth with a solo shot to cut the deficit to 2-1.
UCF's bullpen could not hold a 2-1 lead in the seventh as Houston scored four runs off three UCF relievers to take a 5-2 advantage. Junior right-hander Derek Abriola started the frame with a walk and second baseman Isa Garcia tied the game at two with a RBI-single to score Brett Logan. Garcia stole second and scored on a single by third baseman Dustin Kingsbury to give UH its first lead of the night at 3-2. The two-out rally continued with a two-run double by designated hitter Brad Lincoln to extend the lead to 5-2.
The four-run seventh cost UCF starter Mitch Houck
a chance for his fourth win of the season. Houck pitched well, limiting Houston to one run on two hits in six innings of work.
Houston added another two-out run in the eighth with a RBI-single by center fielder Jake Stewart to close out the scoring at 6-2.
UCF loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, but Houston reliever Shea Hancock recorded a strikeout to close it out.
UCF looks to salvage the final game of the Houston series Sunday. First pitch is scheduled at 2 p.m. ET from Cougar Field.
Game Notes: UCF lost its first game of the season when Steve Stropp is the team's catcher ... the Golden Knights are 4-1 when Stropp is behind the dish ... UCF fell to 18-3 when leading after six innings.