Baseball Cannot Solve Houston's Pitching Staff as Cougars Sweep C-USA Series


March 25, 2007

Final Stats

Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF baseball team could not get the hits it needed as it was unable to avoid a Conference USA sweep Sunday, falling to Houston, 7-2. Kiko Vazquez did notch three hits in the loss, but his effort was not enough to help the Knights (14-13, 0-3 C-USA) claim its first league win of the year.

For the third-straight day, Houston's (14-12, 3-0 C-USA) starter brought problems to the UCF bats. Freshman righty John Touchton completed his outing with 6.0 scoreless innings to improve his record to 2-2 on the year. UCF's Jaager Good fell to 3-2 by tossing 5.2 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits, striking out six.

Good was solid through the first two frames, but gave up a sacrifice fly in the third to provide Houston with a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Josh Stirneman stretched it to 2-0 by lacing the first pitch he saw just inside the right field foul pole and over the fence for a solo homer. The Cougars threatened to extend it further by putting two runners in scoring position with just one out. However, Bryan Pounds flied out to right fielder Ryan Richardson, who quickly fired a laser to Steve Stropp at home and the UCF catcher put the tag on Luis Flores trying to score from third for the double play.

When UCF returned to the plate in the bottom half, it picked up a one-out walk by Shane Brown and a base hit from Vazquez. Chris Duffy then came to the plate and sent a 1-2 pitch to center. Zak Presley let it drop in front of him, scooped it up on one hop and threw over to third to get Brown, who was holding up to see if the ball would be caught, for the force out. Touchton got out of the inning by forcing Richardson to ground out to short.

The Cougars broke it open in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs. As Good went past the 100-pitch mark, he got to 1-2 on Pounds and the shortstop barely fouled off a couple of pitches before sending a 3-2 pitch to the gap in left center, clearing the bases and handing Houston a 5-0 advantage. That proved to be the last batter Good faced in the game.

With hopes of a comeback, the Knights placed two aboard with just one down in the sixth only to see Vazquez strike out and Duffy fly out to left. They came right back in the eighth by loading the bases on an error, a base hit and a walk, all with nobody out against reliever Shea Hancock. Dwayne Bailey provided the first run on a ground out to second, but Stropp was thrown out at home by way of a fielder's choice for the second out. Houston went back to the bullpen in favor of Donnie Joseph and on the second pitch, Chadd Hartman placed a single into right field to Eric Kallstrom and help UCF inch closer, 5-2. Joseph, though, used three pitches to strike out Brown and leave two Golden Knights on base.

Although UCF just started to gain some momentum, Flores belted a two-run homer in the eighth off Matt McClung to put the game out of reach. The Knights were able to continue some offensive pressure in their half of the inning, getting a base hit from Vazquez and a double off the bat of pinch-hitter Matt Horwath. Following a pop-up for out No. 1, right fielder Bryan Tully took the hill and induced Stropp to fly out and Kallstrom to send a grounder to second, leaving runners at second and third with no outs. UCF did not go quietly in the ninth, leaving two more runners in scoring position to conclude the weekend.

The Knights' 17-game home stand wraps up Monday when it hosts Harvard at 6:30 p.m. 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: John Touchton (2-2), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
LP: Jaager Good (3-2), 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
- Sunday marked the first time since March 9 that there was not any scoring in either the first or second inning by UCF or its opponent.
- A total of 2,418 fans came out to the ballpark for the three-game series with Houston, which was the eighth-largest series in Jay Bergman Field history. The attendance was 14 more than this year's series with Rutgers (March 16-18).
- Jaager Good finished with 109 pitches (65 strikes), his second-highest amount this year.
- Matt Horwath's double in the eighth inning was his 99th career base hit.
- Eric Kallstrom saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end.