May 5, 2012
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By Chad Binette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - D.J. Hicks drove in three runs and Ben Lively struck out eight in seven innings as the No. 13 UCF baseball team celebrated Senior Night with an 8-1 win Saturday over Presbyterian.
UCF recognized Bryan Brown, Matt Collins, Alex Friedrich, Ray Hanson, Erik Hempe and Travis Shreve for their contributions to a team that has risen in prominence the past four seasons and now holds a half-game lead over Rice for first place in Conference USA. The Knights are 13-5 in Conference USA, and the Owls are 12-5.
With family members and friends at their sides, the seniors received framed photos during a pregame ceremony on the field.
"What a great group," Rooney said of the seniors. "Besides their individual accolades, first and foremost they were part of a group that had a hand in bringing UCF back to the NCAA regionals in 2011."
The Knights and Blue Hose (19-26) will play game two of their nonconference series at 4 p.m. Sunday and game three at noon Monday.
Presbyterian starter Bud Jeter left the game after walking Ronnie Richardson and Darnell Sweeney to open the second inning. Hicks, who now has 60 RBI this year, drove in both runs following a double steal to give the Knights a 5-0 lead. Richardson now leads Conference USA with 20 steals on the season, and Sweeney has 16 stolen bases.
Lively recorded the 100th strikeout of his career in the fourth inning, and his eight strikeouts were his second-best total of the season. He fanned 11 Boston College batters on Feb. 24. Lively allowed only four hits and did not walk a batter.
He didn't encounter any trouble until the fifth inning, when he picked up a fly out and strike out to get out of a one-out jam with runners on second and third. He gave up his lone run of the game in the sixth inning on a leadoff triple and RBI groundout. In the seventh, a Hicks double scored Sweeney before Friedrich hit a double high off the left-field wall to score Hicks. Friedrich's double was his team-leading 19th this season.
Three seniors played in Friday's game. Friedrich had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run. Shreve went 1-for-4 with a stolen base, and pitcher Matt Collins retired the Blue Hose in order in the ninth inning.