UCF Falls to No. 2 Rice at C-USA Championship


May 23, 2007

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Making its Conference USA Championship debut, the UCF baseball team fell 16-6 to second-ranked Rice on Wednesday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The top-seeded Owls (46-12) pounded out 21 hits. The game ended in the eighth inning due to the league's 10-run rule.

The Knights are the eighth seed at the double-elimination event and fell to 26-31 with the loss. UCF will meet No. 4 Houston at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Rice trailed 3-2 with two outs in the fourth inning, but the Owls recorded five-straight hits with two outs and scored five runs off of UCF sophomore Mitch Herold (Merritt Island, Fla./Cocoa). Herold quickly recorded two outs on two pitches to open the inning before the Owls got rolling.

Brian Friday got on base with a double down the left field line and scored when Jess Buenger singled to right. Following an Aaron Luna single, Buenger scored when Joe Savery singled up the middle. Jordan Dodson then capped the inning for Rice, drilling a three-run home run to right. Unable to get out of the inning, Herold was replaced by junior Brett Bordwine (Melbourne, Fla./Eau Gallie).

"We just gave a very good team too many opportunities," said UCF head coach Jay Bergman. "That is why they are the No. 2 team in the country. They took advantage of the opportunities."

Rice scored two runs in the third inning, but UCF responded with three runs in the fourth. After junior Tyson Auer (Longwood, Fla./Lake Mary) singled to center, sophomore Kiko Vazquez (Sebring, Fla./Sebring) doubled down the left field line to plate the runner. After freshman Chris Duffy (Orlando, Fla./Cypress Creek) singled, junior Ryan Richardson (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary) brought Vazquez home with a base hit to left. Duffy later scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Chadd Hartman (Windermere, Fla./Olympia).

The Knights, who are in their second campaign in C-USA, did not qualify for the tournament a year ago.

The Owls tallied four runs in the fifth inning, including a three-run home run from Danny Lehmann.

Richardson went 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI. He hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. The Knights added two more runs during the sixth when senior Matt Horwath (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary) singled to score sophomore Eric Kallstrom (South West Ranches, Fla./Cypress Bay) and freshman Shane Brown (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park).

Aaron Luna gave Rice a 14-6 advantage in the sixth when he belted a three-run home run. The Owls scored one run in both the seventh and eighth innings.

Houston dropped a 12-4 contest to No. 5 Memphis to open the championship on Wednesday morning. The Cougars won all three of their games with UCF in Orlando in March.

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

Game Notes
WP: Ryan Berry (10-2), 5.0 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
LP: Mitch Herold (0-3), 3.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
- The contest versus Rice served as UCF's first conference championship game since May 28, 2005 when it fell 5-3 to Florida Atlantic at the Atlantic Sun Championship in DeLand, Fla.
- The last time that the Knights participated in a conference championship outside the state of Florida occurred in 1992 when the Sun Belt held its event in Mobile, Ala.
- UCF and Rice were not meeting at a neutral site for the first time. In 1999, the Knights played Rice in Kissimmee, Fla. as part of the Olive Garden Classic.
- The Owls are the highest ranked team that UCF has played in 2007. When the squads met in April, Rice was ranked sixth nationally.
- Ryan Richardson's solo shot in the sixth inning was his first run home of the year.
- UCF recorded 10 hits to post its sixth double-digit performance in its last seven games.