Three Eighth-Inning Runs Lift UCF Baseball Over Tulane, 4-3


April 28, 2007

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Game Notes for Sunday, April 29
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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - For the second-straight night, UCF took its first lead in the bottom of the eighth inning vs. Tulane Saturday at Jay Bergman Field and held on for a 4-3 victory. The Knights (21-23, 3-11 Conference USA) scored three in the eighth, two of them with two outs, to cap off another come-from-behind win over the Green Wave (29-16, 8-9).

UCF's Kyle Sweat and Tulane's Shooter Hunt provided fans with an impressive pitchers' duel. Sweat, in his sixth start of the year, lasted 8.0 innings for the third time in 2007, striking out five to improve his record to 4-3. Hunt, meanwhile, struck out 13 in 7.1 innings of work. The only Knight starter to not strike out vs. Hunt was Matt Horwath.

"A lot of people got some clutch hits and things kind of went our way for a change," said head coach Jay Bergman. "The key to the whole ballgame was Kyle Sweat settling down in the middle part of the ballgame and in the sixth, seventh and eighth, he was in charge."

Horwath, who hit for UCF's first cycle in program history in game one of the series Friday, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two doubles. Kiko Vazquez also notched two hits in the win, including the game-winning RBI double in the eighth.

Tulane jumped on UCF early, earning a leadoff homer in the second from Warren McFadden and a two-out RBI single by Aja Barto to make it 2-0. Jared Dyer tallied another two-out single with a runner at second when he drilled a 3-2 pitch to left to score Nate Simon.

The Knights started putting pressure on Hunt and had a runner at third with just one down in the sixth. Horwath kicked things off by collecting his eighth double of the year. Tyson Auer followed up with a single to center to place runners at the corners. Hunt then was able to get Auer leaning towards second and a run-down ensued. Although Auer was called out 1-3-4-1, Horwath sprinted for home and the throw from Hunt was right on the money, but Dyer dropped the ball when he tried to put the tag down. Horwath's run helped UCF inch closer, 3-1.

Hunt finally left the game in the bottom of the eighth, where UCF continued its rally. Pinch-hitter Tim Russell placed a single down the left-field line and pinch-runner Bryan Bennett reached second on a sacrifice bunt from Chadd Hartman. When Tulane went to the pen in favor of Daniel Latham, who sits tied for the league lead in saves with 10, Horwath greeted the righty with his second double of the game to plate Bennett and bring the deficit to just 3-2. The Black and Gold, though, was not done.

Shane Brown entered the eighth as a pinch-hitter and grounded out, which sent Horwath to third with two down. After fouling off three-straight pitches with the count 1-2, Auer kept battling and got it to 2-2. Auer did not have to swing the bat on the next pitch in order to tie the game. Latham's next pitch was in the dirt and traveled half way between home plate and the backstop, yet it was still enough to allow Horwath to slide in to even things up at 3-3. While the bases were empty, Auer earned his walk before Vazquez strode to the plate. The first baseman fell behind 0-2 and with Auer running on the pitch, ripped a double just inside the line in left. As the ball took shop in the corner, Auer raced around third to give UCF a 4-3 advantage.

Weiss took over for Sweat on the mound in the ninth and a two-out walk did not do any damage as he recorded his sixth save of his sophomore campaign.

UCF wraps up its C-USA series vs. Tulane Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m. (moved up from the original start time of 1 p.m.). After the Green Wave leave Orlando, No. 24 Stetson makes its only journey to Jay Bergman Field this year Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. showdown with the Knights. 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: Kyle Sweat (4-3), 8.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
LP: Daniel Latham (2-3), 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
SV: Justin Weiss (6), 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- The win secured UCF's first Conference USA series win since March 31-April 2, 2006, vs. Marshall, which also was the Knights' first-ever series in C-USA after moving from the Atlantic Sun following the 2005 season.
- Left fielder Chad Hartman recorded his third assist of the season when he threw out Tim Guidry trying to stretch a single into a double in the fourth inning.
- Kiko Vazquez extended his hitting streak to six games thanks to his two-hit affair.
- Kyle Sweat had a three-ball count to just three hitters Saturday night (Jared Dyer, 3-2 count in the fourth, Seth Henry, 3-2 count in the eighth and Warren McFadden, 3-2 count in the eighth).
- Ryan Richardson moved to 12-for-12 in the stolen base category.
- Neither starting pitcher walked a batter Saturday.
- The Knights are now 8-2 this season in one-run games.
- UCF, who will be going for the sweep Sunday, recorded its only three-game sweep this year against Massachusetts March 9-11.
- Saturday's attendance was 1,004, marking the third-straight home game that the announced crowd was over 1,000. The last time UCF had at least 1,000 fans for three-consecutive contests came in the three-game series vs. then-No. 2 LSU Feb. 13-15, 2004.