Butera's Walk-Off Homer Lifts No. 20 UCF to Sweep of JU


March 26, 2005

Box Score

ORLANDO - Drew Butera blasted a walk-off home run and John-Michael Howell hit a two-run, game-winning home run to lift No. 20 UCF to a doubleheader sweep of Jacksonville Saturday, 4-2 and 5-4 at Jay Bergman Field. Howell crushed a two-run shot over the scoreboard in right field in the game one victory while Butera clubbed his walk-off shot down the line in left field in the 11th inning to complete the doubleheader sweep.

The two wins also gave UCF head coach Jay Bergman 900 for his career at UCF. In his entire coaching career, Bergman is 1,116-610-3 and 900-497-3 at UCF.

With the two victories, UCF improved to 25-5 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic Sun while Jacksonville fell to 13-14 on the season and 3-8 in A-Sun action.

In game one, sophomore Tim Bascom won his fifth straight start to lead UCF to the win. The Dunedin native pitched 7.0 innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with five strikeouts. Junior reliever Dominic Petracca pitched 2.0 perfect innings of relief including two strikeouts for his second save of the year.

Dee Brown doubled in a run in the third to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead. JU took the lead in the fifth with two runs.

After Marshall Bernhard led off the sixth with a solo home run to right field to tie the game at two, Howell launched his two-run shot clear over the scoreboard in right in the seventh to put UCF in the lead for good at 4-2. Howell drilled the first pitch he saw from JU reliever Brett Nagy and clinched the win for the Golden Knights.

In game two, UCF jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning as the Golden Knights scored two unearned runs on a JU error.

The Dolphins scored one in the fourth and took the lead with two runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Gordie Gronkowski, 3-2.

The Golden Knights answered quickly in the home half of the fifth with two runs of their own to regain the lead, 4-3. Ryan Bono doubled to center, scoring Matt Ray and Howell, to put UCF in front again.

JU did not go down without a fight, scoring one run in the eighth on a RBI-groundout by Zach Haniff to tie the contest at four.

The game remained deadlocked until the 11th. JU threatened to take the lead in the top of the inning as the Dolphins had a runner on second with one out when Bergman called on Derek Abriola to enter the game from the bullpen. The Orlando native got the final two outs on a groundout and strikeout to keep the game tied at four.

In the home half of the 11th, Butera drilled a 1-2 pitch down the field in left to give UCF the 5-4 win. The walk-off home run was the first of Butera's career on any level of baseball. Butera drilled two balls foul on the day down the line in left before keeping the game-winning blast fair to end the contest.

Abriola (1-0) pitched 0.2 innings for the win. The UCF bullpen pitched well all day long, going 9.2 innings and surrendering just one run on five hits with nine strikeouts.

The Golden Knights look to close out the three-game sweep of the Dolphins Monday evening at 6 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field. Junior right-hander Ray Rodriguez (5-0) is the scheduled starter for the Golden Knights.