May 19, 2005
MACON, Ga. - Matt Ray's bases loaded walk broke a 5-5 tie in the ninth inning as UCF (40-14, 19-9 A-Sun) came from behind to defeat host Mercer (26-26, 10-18 A-Sun) 6-5 Thursday night at Claude Smith Field. The Golden Knights won their second game of the season - and the second in four games - after trailing entering the ninth inning as UCF erased a 5-4 deficit to capture the one-run victory. The win was UCF's 40th of the season, marking the fifth time in six seasons UCF has reached the 40-win plateau.
"That was a big win tonight," stated UCF head coach Jay Bergman. "Our bullpen just keeps coming through for us. Matt Rhodes and Dominic Petracca did a great job for us and we got the runs when we needed to."
Marshall Bernhard singled and scored to start the game for the Golden Knights in the first. Mercer committed two errors in the frame to lead to the unearned run. UCF has outscored its opponents 46-14 in the first inning in 2005.
Mercer evened the game at one in the third with a RBI-groundout by Sean McCahill.
Ray lined a double to the gap in right center - his second hit of the night - to score Drew Butera to hand the lead back to UCF at 2-1.
Despite not allowing a hit through four innings, Tim Bascom walked three and uncorked three wild pitches in the fourth to tie the game, 2-2.
Mercer captured its first lead of the game in the sixth on a two-run home run by Josh Thompson to give the Bears a 4-2 lead. Andrew Einert followed with a solo home run to right to put Mercer in front 5-2.
John-Michael Howell's 15th home run of the season - a two-run shot to right - cut the Mercer lead to 5-4 in the seventh. Howell is tied with Dee Brown for the team in home runs as the two also tied for third in UCF single-season history in home runs.
UCF rallied for two runs in the ninth to take a 6-5 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Ryan Bono
was hit by a pitch to tie the game at five. Ray followed with a walk to force in another run to give the Golden Knights a 6-5 advantage.
Petracca pitched the final 2.2 innings of the game for his second win of the season. The Sanford native yielded just one hit and fanned four for the victors.
UCF looks to close out the series sweep and lock up the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun Tournament Friday in a doubleheader vs. Mercer. The first game is set to begin at noon. UCF needs just one win tomorrow to clinch the No. 2 seed for the A-Sun Tournament, next week at Stetson.
Game Notes: Tim Bascom struck out five batters to bring his season total to 107, tying him with Kyle Bono (2004) for seventh in UCF single-season history ... UCF's bullpen has not allowed an earned run in 17 straight innings of work (since the series finale at Troy) ... John-Michael Howell's two-run home run in the seventh tied him with Dee Brown (2005) and Greg Pacitti (1997) for third in UCF single-season history ... UCF won its 40th game of the season for the 15th time under legendary head coach Jay Bergman.