Three Runs in the Ninth Put UCF Baseball in C-USA Championship Next Week


May 18, 2007

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Game Notes for Saturday, May 19
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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In the most important game the UCF baseball team embarked on all season, the Knights used some more late-inning heroics to ensure they would have a postseason in 2007. The Black and Gold scored two in the eighth and three in the ninth to erase a 7-3 deficit and defeat Marshall, 8-7, Friday at Jay Bergman Field. The victory locked up the eighth and final seed in the Conference USA Championship, which begins Wednesday in Greenville, N.C.

UCF improved to 26-29 on the season and 7-16 in league play. The win secured the series win over Marshall (20-32, 4-18), who was fighting the Knights for that final spot in the conference tournament. It also was the second time all year that UCF won a game when it trailed entering the ninth inning.

Chris Duffy homered for the third-straight game, a two-run dinger off the scoreboard in the eighth inning. The freshman's last four home runs have been two-run blasts, as he has gone deep in four of his last six contests and eight times for the season. Meanwhile, Dwayne Bailey drove in three runs, including two on a double in the ninth inning. Kiko Vazquez's career-long hitting streak moved to 17 games on the evening's final at-bat, when the sophomore collected a bases-loaded, walk-off infield single.

Brett Bordwine (3-3) earned the victory, pitching 3.2 innings out of the pen and not allowing an earned run while striking out three.

An unearned run enabled UCF to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first vs. Thundering Herd starter Jeremy Slone. Matt Horwath quickly hammered a single to center to get aboard. Following the base hit, Bailey hit a high chopper in front of the plate and catcher Tommy Johnson fired it over to Brit Vincent at first for the out. Horwath, meanwhile, raced around second to try for third since no one was covering. Two members of the Herd defense tried to get over to the bag, but Vincent's throw went all of the way to the fence, allowing Horwath to score.

Chadd Hartman's team-leading third triple of the season got the third going, as he sent a 2-0 pitch to the right-center gap. Horwath then came through with a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 2-0 against UCF starter Kyle Sweat. The two-run advantage did not hold up in the top of the fourth, where Marshall struck for three two-out runs. When the fifth rolled around, Bailey tied it back up on a fielder's choice, scoring Shane Brown from third.

The Herd returned in the sixth, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Brandon Casamassima brought in Marshall's fourth run of the evening on a fielder's choice, and Brendan Murphy drilled a two-run shot over the right-field wall to double up UCF, 6-3. Another unearned run in the eighth made it 7-3 for the Thundering Herd.

Duffy, though, did not want Marshall to run away when he strode to the plate in the eighth. Auer led off the inning with a single and one out later, Duffy cut the lead in half with his two-run home run to right-center. Down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Herd closer Nick Wolle took the mound and immediately gave up singles to pinch-hitters Kyle Mills and Tim Russell. Horwath loaded them up with an infield single, setting up Bailey's two-run double to left field. Now with the winning run in Horwath at third, Auer was intentionally walked to reload the bases. Continuing to show why he ranks as one of the league's top hitters, Vazquez crushed a grounder to third that all Blake Sanders could do was knock down, permitting Horwath to score on the walk-off single.

Five seniors will be honored Saturday when UCF closes out the regular season vs. Marshall Saturday at 1 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field. The Knights will then fly to Greenville, N.C., Monday to prepare for their first-round meeting with No. 1 seed Rice Wednesday. It will be their first appearance in the C-USA Championship since joining the league last season.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.

Game Notes
WP: Brett Bordwine (3-3), 3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
LP: Nike Wolle (1-6), 0.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
- Each team had 11 hits in the game. It was UCF's 11th-straight game with double-digit hits, the longest streak since 2001 (12 games).
- Matt Horwath, Tyson Auer and Chris Duffy all had two hits in the victory.
- Kiko Vazquez was hit by a pitch twice, tying him with Matt Horwath for fifth on the all-time list with 22. Those also gave Vazquez 11 HBP for the season.
- Vazquez's hitting streak is the longest since Clay Timpner's 19-game performance in 2004.
- Ryan Richardson saw his 13-game hitting streak come to an end Friday.
- Tyson Auer stole his 23rd base of 2007 in the first inning, Dwayne Bailey swiped his 18th of the year in the fifth and Shane Brown notched his third of his freshman campaign in the fifth frame as well.
- UCF has at least three stolen bases in three of the last four games.
- The Knights caught Blake Sanders stealing twice in the game, and also retired Mason Chapman trying to steal. It was the second time this year the UCF defense had at least two CS to their credit (Southern Miss, April 7).
- Marshall was led by Sanders, who had three hits, and Brendan Murphy, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.