Down 8-1, UCF Baseball Storms Back for a 10-8 Win Over Rutgers


March 16, 2007

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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - A grim UCF dugout turned into a wild party within minutes Friday at Jay Bergman Field, as the Golden Knight baseball team scored seven two-out, fifth-inning runs en route to a 10-8 come-from-behind win over Rutgers. The victory extended the Black and Gold's streak to seven games as it moved its record to 13-9 on the year.

"The maturity and the growth of our players made them realize that seven runs doesn't mean anything in college baseball," said head coach Jay Bergman, whose team trailed 8-1 in the fifth. "The seven runs we got (to tie it) were huge. And of course the two runs (in the eighth) were huge. And then Brian Brooks just settled the whole thing down."

Brooks (2-1), a native of Oviedo, got the win in relief as the senior held the Scarlet Knights (6-9) to just two hits over the final 4.0 innings. At the plate, Tyson Auer finished with a 3-for-5 affair, notching a double, two runs scored and a stolen base. Dwayne Bailey also had a multi-hit game, posting two singles in the fifth to complete his night at a 2-for-4 clip.

"Getting ahead, the cutter and finally establishing the change-up," said Brooks of what was working for him on the mound. "I kept them off balance and I was able to locate most of the time. (Tonight) was crazy. It was awesome. It was exciting. I don't know what to say. Everybody just got key base hits at the right time."

UCF starter Austin Hudson worked into early trouble in the top of the first, and gave up the first run when Rutgers recorded three-straight singles. The following inning, Luis Feliz made it 2-0 on a fielder's choice and Todd Frazier stretched the lead to 3-0 thanks to a RBI single. In both frames, though, Hudson limited the damage on double-play balls. Rutgers continued to pressure Hudson in the third, as Tim Querns drove in Ryan Hill from third with one down. Frank Meade then connected for a two-out RBI single to complete the third-inning scoring.

Kiko Vazquez tried to spark some momentum in the bottom of the third, drilling a double to dead center field to plate Auer from first base. However, the Scarlet Knights pushed it to 6-1 in their next turn at the dish before witnessing UCF go to the pen in favor of Eric English. He allowed an inherited runner to score and bring the Rutgers lead to six runs. After the Golden Knights went scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, an unearned run in the fifth, which scored on a double steal, made it 8-1.

UCF unearthed its offense in the fifth, as starter Matt Giannini picked up two outs before the scoring onslaught began. Bailey got it rolling by leading off with a single, and Chadd Hartman was hit by a pitch with one down. Although Vazquez flied out, the Black and Gold struck for seven two-out runs to tie it up at 8-8. A walk to Brandon Romans loaded them up, and Chris Duffy was plunked on the first pitch he saw for the first run. Hartman then came across when a Giannini pitch in the dirt lodged into the catching equipment of Meade. With Shane Brown at the plate, Romans scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead in half.

Still with a ways to go in order to even the score, UCF finally started putting its aluminum to work. Following a quick walk to Brown, Ryan Richardson delivered a huge blow, roping his first triple of the year to center, scoring both Brown and Duffy. Facing a runner at third, Eric Kallstrom found a 0-2 pitch to hit and placed it into left field to inch UCF closer. Giannini was forced to retire to the dugout, as Rutgers went to Jason Downey. Two singles later, Bailey's second of the inning and Auer's base hit up the middle, and the Golden Knights managed to pull even with the Scarlet Knights.

As Brooks was mowing down the Rutgers batting order from the sixth to the eighth innings, UCF took its first lead of the game in its half of the eighth inning. Auer once again proved to be a big factor as the leadoff man, singling up the middle and promptly stole second. A sacrifice bunt from Hartman advanced Auer to third, Vazquez was intentionally walked to put runners at the corners and in came Chris Lillis to replace reliever Jason Downey (0-1). On the first two pitches Lillis threw, UCF grabbed a 10-8 advantage. His first pitch sailed to the backstop to bring in Auer, and Vazquez came around when Romans placed a double into left field.

Brooks did give up a leadoff single in the ninth, but a line out and then a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play wrapped up the comeback victory.

UCF and Rutgers resume the three-game series Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. showdown. For the latest news and information on the Golden Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.

Game Notes
WP: Brian Brooks (2-1), 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
LP: Jason Downey (0-1), 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
- All nine offensive starters for UCF scored a run.
- Chris Duffy's nine-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
- Tyson Auer stole his C-USA leading 13th base in the win.
- UCF pitchers (Austin Hudson, Eric English and Brian Brooks) issued just one walk, while combining to strike out eight.
- Kiko Vazquez was given three free passes Friday, which tied a career-high. It also was the second time this week (UMass, March 11) he reached base three times by way of a walk.