Six Unanswered Runs Not Enough as No. 30 ECU Edges UCF Baseball, 8-7


May 13, 2007

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Greenville, N.C. (www.ucfathletics.com) - After rain suspended the second game of the series Saturday with No. 30 East Carolina ahead 7-1 in the fifth, the Pirates held off a six-run surge by the UCF baseball team in completing an 8-7 victory Sunday. The win for the Pirates (34-17, 12-7) guaranteed them of the Conference USA series win over the Knights (24-28, 5-15) as they edged UCF in game one Friday, 8-6.

The series finale was scheduled to get underway approximately 30 minutes after game two wrapped up Sunday.

Kiko Vazquez (14 games), Matt Horwath (11 games), Ryan Richardson (11 games) and Tyson Auer (nine games) all extended their hitting streaks in the outing with the Pirates. Auer finished 3-for-4 with two RBI, and freshman Kyle Mills set a career-high with three hits, including his first double. The Knights went on to collect 13 hits, marking the eighth-straight game with at least 10 hits.

East Carolina recorded eight steals in its triumph, half of which came from Ryan Wood.

The UCF bats showed up right away in the first inning Saturday. Dustin Sasser's first pitch plunked Horwath and Dwayne Bailey took his spot at first on a fielder's choice. Bailey promptly stole second, and with Auer at the dish, the center fielder sent a 2-2 pitch the opposite way with the runner moving, allowing Bailey to easily score.

ECU answered with an unearned run by way of a two-out error in the bottom half vs. UCF starter Kyle Sweat (4-5). Kyle Roller and Drew Schieber provided the Pirates with their first lead by sending back-to-back homers to right center in the second for a 3-1 cushion. The Knights tried to respond in the third only to see Sasser leave Knights stranded at second and third with one down.

In the home half, East Carolina placed runners at second and third with one down as well, and it was able to capitalize with three runs and a 6-1 lead. ECU scored again in the fourth against the UCF pen on a Wood base hit, but could not get anymore across after having the bases loaded and one out.

When UCF dug in to start the fifth, a Horwath single, a fielder's choice by Bailey and another single from Auer began a Black and Gold rally. However, rain tried to ruin any UCF momentum as it began to come down in buckets, forcing the two programs to conclude game two Sunday. When it resumed at 11 a.m. the next day, Mike Frye took the hill and hit Vazquez on the opening pitch to load the bases. Frye gave UCF a run on a wild pitch, and Richardson notched a sacrifice fly to left to inch closer, 7-3.

Brett Bordwine took over and stuck out two in a scoreless fifth, the first inning ECU did not plate a run. In the sixth, Mills delivered with a one-out double to left, his first extra-base hit of his career, and moved to third on a single from Chadd Hartman. Chris Duffy entered as a pinch-hitter and Jason Neitz came in from the bullpen for the lefty-lefty match-up. ECU appeared to make the right decision when Neitz got to 0-2, but Duffy battled back to place a 1-2 RBI single into center. Bailey then stepped in and came within two feet of a three-run homer, sending a double off the wall in left to make it 7-5. Auer gave UCF its sixth run on a sacrifice fly, and with runners at the corners following an intentional walk to Vazquez, Richardson hit a slow roller off Nietz's hand for a RBI infield single, completing the comeback at 7-7.

Auer decided to step it up even more in the bottom of the sixth, putting his defensive skills to work to keep things even. With pinch-runner Mark Letchworth at second and two down, Ryan Tousley singled up the middle. Auer sprinted in, gobbled it up and fired a perfect one-hopper to Shane Brown behind the plate. The catcher secured the ball and laid the tag down for the third out of the frame. It was Auer's sixth outfield assist of the year.

The Knights escaped another dilemma in the seventh. Bordwine walked the first two hitters, yet managed to induce Jamie Ray to ground into a 5-3 double play. An intentional walk gave the Pirates two on again, and Justin Weiss held them at bay on a grounder to second from Drew Schieber. Unfortunately for the Knights, ECU's pressure continued in the eighth, where Corey Kemp belted a solo homer to left to enable the Pirates to retake the lead. This time, they held on even though UCF placed two on with one out in the top of the ninth, causing Weiss (4-1) to lose just his first game in two seasons with the Black and Gold.

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Game Notes
WP: Shane Mathews (3-3), 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
LP: Justin Weiss (4-1), 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
- After going 8-2 in one-run games in 2007, the Knights have lost their last two to move to 8-4.
- The eight-consecutive outings with double-digit hits is the longest since UCF had a streak of eight-straight games May 21-June 4, 2004.
- Matt Horwath was hit by a pitch for the 22nd time in a UCF uniform, which gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time list. Kiko Vazquez had a HBP as well, moving him into a tie for eighth with 20 in two seasons at UCF.
- Dwayne Bailey's stolen base in the first inning was the first swipe for UCF since May 2 against Stetson. The Knights entered Saturday without a steal in the last five games.
- In all, Bailey stole two bags to give him 16 on the season, while Tyson Auer collected his 21st steal of 2007.
- Bailey also scored three runs in game two, the third time this year he scored three runs, which gave him nine in the last four games.
- Carmine Giardina, who has been recovering from an injury, made his first appearance on the mound since a start against Southern Miss April 7. The lefty struck out the first batter he faced, David Forbes, in the fourth frame.
- With two intentional walks, Kiko Vazquez now has seven on the season.