Down to its Last Strike, UCF Baseball Finds a Way to Defeat Stetson in 11 Innings


March 27, 2007

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DeLand, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - A wild battle broke out between the UCF baseball team and Stetson Tuesday. In what has become the Knights' most-storied rivalry, Tyson Auer tied it in the ninth with two outs for the Knights (16-13) and they won it, 4-3, on a wild pitch in the 11th in a game that lasted 4:06.

While they amazingly pulled out the win over the Hatters (20-9), their defense turned UCF's first triple play since March 18, 2001. Facing Justin Weiss (2-0) with no outs and runners at first and second in the eighth, Jeremy Cruz smacked a line drive with the runners moving that drilled Weiss on the shoe and flew high into the air. Dwayne Bailey snatched it, stepped on second base and threw it to Kiko Vazquez at first for the inning-ending triple play.

UCF starter Brett Bordwine did not receive a decision after lasting 6.0 innings with seven strikeouts. Weiss got the win by pitching the last 4.0 innings (a personal best) without giving up a run and striking out a career-high five. Leading the offense, Eric Kallstrom tied a career-high with three hits, while Vazquez added three as well and Auer posted two hits on the evening for the Knights.

"There's sometimes during a season, you might call it a pivotal game, but there's some things that have to happen to get you back on the right path," said head coach Jay Bergman. "Certainly last night's victory over Harvard was pretty solid and then to win a game like this on the road in extra innings, I think it really gives the kids a lot of confidence and belief that they can win some games against very good teams."

First-inning troubles returned for the Black and Gold, as Bordwine walked the first two batters he faced. The free passes hurt him as the Hatters eventually scored two runs to take an early lead. But Kallstrom provided UCF with some clutch hitting when it came back to the plate in the second against starter Robby Donovan. With one down, Ryan Richardson earned a walk, advanced to second on a ground out and stole his sixth base of the year. Kallstrom entered the box and ripped a 3-2 pitch into right field to cut Stetson's lead in half.

Bordwine settled down after the first, and racked up a combined six strikeouts from the second to the fourth frames, including sitting down six of eight batters at one point. While the hurler was working his magic, Kallstrom proved once again why the fifth inning had been UCF's best this season. The shortstop led off with a single and was promptly sacrificed over to second by way of Bailey's perfect bunt in front of home plate. On a 1-1 pitch, Auer smashed a double down the left-field line to tie it up at 2-2.

However, Bordwine surrendered a base hit and a stolen base to Kevin Johnson, and with two down, Tindle laced a RBI single into center to retake the lead in the bottom half. When the top of the sixth rolled around, Vazquez was issued a leadoff walk that made Stetson turned to its bullpen in favor of southpaw David Burns to face left-handed hitter Chris Duffy. The move worked as Burns got Duffy chasing on a 1-2 pitch low and away. Righty Jake Hitchcock then came on to face Richardson and Tim Russell and earned a fielder's choice and a ground out, respectively, to keep the Hatters up by a run.

In the eighth, a four-pitch walk to Chadd Hartman and a sacrifice bunt from Shane Brown gave the Knights the tying runner at second with one down. An infield single from Vazquez permitted UCF to place runners at the corners where Stetson brought in yet another lefty, Chris Ingoglia, to face Duffy. Stetson then got a generous call as Duffy grounded a slow roller to short, where Johnson flipped it to Cruz at second to possibly start up the double play. By the time Cruz got the ball, Duffy was already on first base, however the umpire ruled him out because Vazquez slid hard into Cruz, ending the UCF threat.

Stetson wanted to put the game away in the eighth and got the first two runners on base with nobody out. That was when it had its momentum halted by the awkward triple play.

The Hatters then sent in their closer, Robbie Elsemiller, and he put Richardson on with four-straight balls to get the ninth going. One out later, Kallstrom grounded a single that both Cruz and Johnson looked at, thinking the other was going to make the play. As it went into center, the Knights now had runners at the corners again with one down. Pinch-hitter Bryan Bennett followed by grounding one to first and Richardson bolted for home. His foot appeared to slide underneath the tag, but he was still called out by the home plate umpire. With one strike left for the Hatters to seal the win, Auer placed a 1-2 pitch into left to score the tying run in Kallstrom, sending the dugout into a frenzy.

Stetson did not want the game to go into extra innings, and with the help of two intentional walks, loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. Weiss buckled down and struck out the clean-up man, Bass, to ensure fans would check out some free baseball.

The UCF fans, who were wildly cheering for extras, got a little more excited when Brown singled through the right side, and Vazquez singled through the left side to get the 10th started. Elsemiller was relieved as Ian Thompson stepped onto the hill for the third lefty-lefty match-up of the game against Duffy. The third baseman became the first out by sitting down on strikes, and the Knights made a bold call by attempting a suicide squeeze. But the ball was way outside to where Richardson could not get a bat on it, and Brown was easily tagged out. Eventually, Richardson struck out as UCF was left scoreless.

Pinch-hitter Steve Stropp led off the 11th with a free pass, and Matt Horwath came on to run. As Nick Pugliese ventured out of the pen, he picked up two outs as Horwath traveled to third. Now with Auer up, Pugliese got to 0-2 but threw the next pitch to the backstop, enabling Horwath to easily touch home for UCF's first lead of the night.

Weiss stayed on the hill in the bottom of the 11th, and saw the Hatters place runners on first and second with one down. The submarine pitcher notched the second out by striking out Tindle on three pitches and induced Pruitt to ground out to second to seal the incredible victory.

Conference USA play resumes this weekend for UCF, as it travels to UAB for a three-game set beginning Friday at 8 p.m. ET. 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: Justin Weiss (2-0), 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
LP: Ian Thompson (1-1), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- With the win, head coach Jay Bergman moved into a tie for 17th on the NCAA Division I all-time coaching wins list with 1,172.
- Tuesday's game marked the first of three weekday games between UCF and Stetson. The two programs will meet in Orlando May 2 and again in DeLand May 8.
- Tyson Auer's double in the fifth inning was his sixth of 2007, which set a career-high. Overall, it was the junior's 14th double in a UCF uniform.
- Mitch Herold pitched a scoreless seventh inning for UCF. In all, the Knights used three pitchers while the Hatters used seven.
- Stetson's Robby Donovan was the fourth-straight freshman starting pitcher UCF had faced.
- Ryan Richardson's stolen base in the second inning was UCF's first steal attempt in four games.
- Freshman Shane Brown made his first career start behind the plate Tuesday.
- UCF has played at least one game that went 11 innings or more at least once every season since 2001.
- The win moved the Knights' record to 53-34-1 all-time in extra-inning affairs.
- Entering the game, UCF was 0-13 when it trailed after eight innings.