May 17, 2013
By Eric DeSalvo
GREENVILLE, N.C. (UCFAthletics.com) - Looking to reach the 30-win plateau Friday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium, the UCF baseball team was unable to secure game two of the series with East Carolina. The Pirates erased deficits of 5-0 and 6-1 to claim the 10-8 triumph and force Saturday morning's rubber match.
With their sights set on back-to-back series wins over ECU, the Knights (29-26, 13-10) will play at 10 a.m. due to the threat of weather. The game will air tape delayed on Fox Sports Networks beginning at 11 a.m., but can be heard live on 740-AM The Game.
In a matchup that featured 27 combined hits, and seven-of-nine Knights notching base-knocks, no lead was safe for either team as runs were scored in 10-of-17 frames in the game.
UCF, after leaving the bases loaded in the first, would get through to Pirates' (29-24, 13-10) starter David Lucroy with two outs in the bottom of the second. After Ryan Breen (2-for-4, 1 RBI) coaxed a walk, Erik Hempe (2-for-4, 1 R) executed the hit and run to put runners at the corners while James Vasquez (3-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB) registered an RBI infield single for the 1-0 lead.
The frame continued after Lucroy intentionally walked Chris Taladay (1-for-5, 1 R) only to see Bret Gordon (1-for-5) rip a 2-run single into right-center on a 1-0 pitch to extend the Knights' lead to 3-0. ECU made the call to the bullpen, but didn't get the result it was looking for as Parker Webster walked with the bases juiced and Erik Barber (3-for-5, 1 RBI) singled through the right side to make it 5-0. In all, UCF sent 10 to the dish and had seven straight batters reach.
Vasquez would push the Knights' lead to 6-1 in the top of the third, notching the fifth two-out hit of the day, and his second RBI single of the game to score Breen.
The Pirates would cut into UCF's lead with a pair of runs in a heated bottom-half of the frame third, but starter Chris Matulis would bear down with a runner at third and deliver back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the fifth, Matulis would not be able to wiggle his way out of trouble as the Pirates knocked him out after 4 2/3 to tie the game at 6-all with three runs on three hits.
The back-and-forth contest continued in the sixth inning as the Knights loaded the bases with no one out, but were only able to plate one run on a 2-out wild pitch that scored Vasquez following his third hit of the ball game. The Pirates would take their first lead of the game in the bottom-half with an RBI single and two-out wild pitch for the 7-6 advantage.
Breen would keep UCF's deficit in the score column brief as he ripped a double down the right-field line to score Barber who doubled to lead off the seventh. The Knights would load the bases for the fourth time on the night only to see ECU reliever Brett Mabry get a pair of outs to end the threat.
The Pirates would take the lead for good in the eighth, after retying the game in the seventh, as Chase McDonald smacked his league-leading 10th home run over the right-field fence for a 10-8 advantage. Two-way standout Drew Reynolds would nail down his 13th save of the year by getting the final four outs of the contest.