Lake Mary's Horwath Hits For First-Ever UCF Cycle in 7-6 Win Over Tulane


April 27, 2007

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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Matt Horwath stole the spotlight away from Chris Duffy's two homers in game one of a Conference USA clash vs. Tulane Friday at Jay Bergman Field. Horwath's eighth-inning RBI double not only gave the Golden Knights (20-23, 2-11) a 7-6 come-from-behind victory, it also completed the first cycle in program history.

"You try not to think about it," said Horwath, a senior who graduated from Lake Mary High School. "I don't care if I strike out seven times, I just want to win. But in high school I don't remember getting even close to a cycle, so it was fun. The weird thing was after I got hit (in the first inning) my arm started bothering me. So I was like alright, I'm going to shorten my swing up and just try to hit a line drive. But then I started feeling better."

Horwath did get hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance vs. Tulane (29-15, 8-8), which moved him into a tie for fifth on UCF's all-time list with 21. He then singled in the third and recorded his first-career triple in the fourth. Down 6-3 in the seventh, he belted a solo homer, his first of the season, and came up in a tie ballgame in the eighth. With the go-ahead run at third and nobody out, Horwath finished off the cycle with a double to center field to hand the Knights the 7-6 win.

Duffy, meanwhile, was extremely instrumental in the victory. His two dingers set a personal-best for the Orlando native and it gave him three for the 2007 campaign. It also happened to be the first occurrence of the season that two different UCF hitters hit a home run in the same game. Duffy's second homer, a two-run blast that tied it at 6-6, came in the same inning as Horwath's.

Back-to-back one-out doubles secured the early lead for Tulane, as Brad Emaus drove in Seth Henry for the first run against starter Jaager Good. Left fielder Chadd Hartman made sure the Green Wave did not score any more by making two diving catches for the final two outs. Three errors provided Tulane with two more runs in the second for a 3-0 advantage, even though it did not have a hit in the frame. The Green Wave came right back with one more in the third thanks to a RBI base hit from Tim Guidry.

UCF was putting pressure on Tulane starter Sean Morgan and finally got to him in the bottom of the third. Horwath led off by lacing a single to right, stole his second base of the season, and easily scored when Dwayne Bailey drilled a 3-2 pitch up the middle. The Black and Gold did not let up and tallied two more to inch closer at 4-3. After Bailey's single, he reached second on a ground out, stole third easily and Kiko Vazquez drove him in on a sacrifice fly to center. With two outs and the bases empty, Duffy sent a towering shot over the scoreboard in right-center field.

Good started the sixth but went to the bench following three-straight singles by the Green Wave. Austin Hudson entered inheriting three runners with nobody out, and the only run allowed was on a passed ball to bring it to 5-3.

The Knights were unable to keep the Green Wave at bay in the seventh when Nate Simon placed a two-out RBI single over the head of Vazquez at first to bring their lead to 6-3. That was when UCF returned to the plate and brought the long ball with it when the seventh inning stretch wrapped up.

Horwath jumped on Morgan's first pitch of the stanza, sending it down the left-field line for a solo shot and the Knights' fourth run of the game. While Morgan did pick up two strikeouts, Vazquez got aboard on a single to set up Duffy's second dinger of the evening. On a 2-1 pitch, the third baseman blasted another no-doubter over the fence in right to tie it up at 6-6.

UCF was given a gift in the eighth when Hartman drilled a 3-2 offering to deep center to start the inning. Simon got to it but watched as the ball bounced out of his glove for a three-base error. Completing his cycle, Horwath doubled over the center fielder's head to give the Knights their first lead of the night, 7-6.

Justin Weiss (4-0) was almost perfect in relief, striking out one over the final 1.2 innings to grab the victory. He did hit the first batter in the top of the ninth and a sacrifice pushed him to second, but the Knights left him there to lock up the one-run triumph.

The home series against Tulane continues Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. showdown scheduled. Sunday's finale gets underway at 11 a.m. (originally slated for 1 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: Justin Weiss (4-0), 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Preston Claiborne (0-2), 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- The announced crowd Friday night was 1,034, one more than the last Tuesday's contest against USF. It ranks as the 23rd largest crowd in Jay Bergman Field history.
- Kiko Vazquez also homered twice this year on Feb. 17 against Maryland.
- Ryan Richardson moved to 11-for-11 in stolen bases this year when he swiped second base in the second inning.
- Center fielder Tyson Auer made one of the best defensive plays all season, sprinting to his left and laying out to rob Cat Everett to end the fourth inning, leaving a runner stranded at second. Kiko Vazquez also made a stellar play at first base, reaching over the fence on the dead run down the first-base line to snag a foul ball off the bat of Seth Henry in the fifth.
- Kiko Vazquez went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored vs. the Green Wave.
- Jaager Good finished his outing by giving up just two earned runs in 5.0 innings, striking out two.
- Both teams combined to steal seven bases (Tulane had four, UCF had three).
- UCF is now 7-2 in one-run games this year.