May 7, 2005
TROY, Ala. - Troy third baseman Jared Keel connected on a walk-off, two-run home run to lift the host Trojans (30-16, 18-5) past UCF 6-5 Saturday night in Troy, Ala. Keel fell behind 0-2 in the count before he gave the Trojans their first walk-off win of the season and handed Troy a two-game lead over UCF (37-12, 16-7) for first place in the Atlantic Sun.
The Golden Knights were 34-1 on the season when leading after eight innings of play, but freshman reliever Jeremy Thorne (0-1) could not hold the lead for the Golden Knights.
Troy scored two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to rally from a 5-2 deficit entering the eighth inning of play. Brent Adcock (9-2) pitched a complete game for the Trojans, striking out five and allowing all five runs on seven hits for the victors.
The Trojans broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Henry Gutierrez hit his league-leading 16th home run of the season to center field, just over the fence to give Troy a 1-0 lead.
A leadoff walk to Chandler Rose paid dividends for the Golden Knights in the fifth as Rose came all the away around to score. Rose advanced to second on a bunt by Auer, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI-groundout by Matt Ray to tie the game at one.
Chase Amis gave Troy a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a solo home run to right.
The Trojans looked to add to their lead in the sixth when Brian Bennett singled through the right side with Gutierrez on second with two outs, but UCF right fielder Matt Horwath made a perfect relay throw to first baseman Ryan Bono, who fired a strike to Drew Butera behind the plate to gun down Gutierrez.
UCF used a two-out rally in the seventh to score a pair of runs. After a two-out walk to Chandler Rose, Auer tripled into the gap in right center to tie the game at two. Matt Ray followed with a grounder to Troy shortstop Chase Amis, but Amis booted the ball to score Auer to give UCF its first lead of the night, 3-2.
crushed a two-run home run in the eighth off the lights in right field to extend the UCF lead to 5-2. The long ball for Howell was his team-leading 14th homer of the season to move into a tie for fourth place in UCF single-season history.
Troy quickly came back with two runs in the home half of the eighth on a solo home run by Blake Green and a RBI-double off the bat of Nick Smith to close the gap to 5-4. With the tying run on second base, Butera ended the inning by throwing behind pinch runner Brett Pierce to pick him off second base.
Brian Bennett led off the ninth with a single just in front of left fielder Dee Brown before Keel's blast ended the game to give the Trojans a 6-5 victory.
The rubber game of the series is Sunday at 2 p.m. in Troy. Redshirt junior pitcher Taylor Cobb gets the start on the mound for the Golden Knights vs. Steven Morelock of Troy.
Game Notes: Dee Brown was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning for the 42nd time in his career ... Brown trails only Rich Wallace (46) in the UCF record books ... Brown moved into sole possession of third place in UCF history with 281 career hits ... John-Michael Howell's two-run home run was his eighth two-run homer of the season ... Howell is tied for fourth in UCF single-season history in home runs with Vince Zawaski (14/1987), Chad Mottola (14/1992), Jose Sato (14/1987) and Bobby Kiser (14/1988) ... UCF dropped to 11-9 when the opponent scores first in 2005.