UCF Claims Game One vs. East Carolina, 3-2


March 28, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - In its Conference USA home opener, the No. 19 UCF baseball team used a stellar outing from sophomore Mitch Houck to defeat East Carolina, 3-2, Friday at Jay Bergman Field. The Weston, Fla., native struck out nine in 6.0 scoreless innings to help the Knights improve to 2-2 in league play and 22-4 overall.

"It was a tough game all around, but fortunately we pitched well enough to get the win," said Houck, who saw his record move to 3-0 on the year. "East Carolina is really patient and our job was to just throw strikes and I think we did that. This was a great win because it sets the tone for the rest of the weekend."

UCF was outhit by ECU (16-7, 1-3), 8-6, but senior Ryan Richardson was able to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games by going 2-for-2 with two walks. Houck finished his day by surrendering just four hits and went at least 6.0 innings in a start for the fourth-straight time. Out of the pen, junior Justin Weiss notched his fourth save with two strikeouts.

Three innings passed before the scoreboard lit up with a run, and it came on the bottom half of the board with UCF taking a 2-0 advantage thanks to two odd plays. Digging in with runners at first and second and two down against T.J. Hose, junior Eric Kallstrom hit a pop up into shallow right field that nobody could seem to locate. The ball eventually dropped safely between fielders to score sophomore Chris Duffy. Richardson then touched home on a fielding error with junior Robert Lara at the dish.

After Houck breezed through the first five innings, ECU put together a possible rally in the top of the sixth when the southpaw went past the 100-pitch mark. Houck recorded the first two outs only to give up a walk and a single. In a lefty-lefty situation, Kyle Roller banged a single back up the middle and Corey Kemp rounded third to head for home. Center fielder Tyson Auer fielded it cleanly and sent a rifle throw towards the plate that took one bounce off the mound and went straight to Lara, who tagged a diving Kemp on the back for the final out of the frame.

When the bottom half rolled around, the Knights added one more run on a RBI single from Lara, which allowed sophomore Shane Brown to score for a 3-0 advantage. The run would be huge as the Pirates countered with two in the eighth on a RBI groundout by Kemp and a run-scoring single from Roller to trim the UCF lead to 3-2.

Weiss entered the game in the eighth and after he picked up the final out in that inning, he gave up a one-out double to Jamie Ray in the ninth, the only extra-base hit of the contest. UCF's closer did not lose his composure and struck out Harrison Eldridge and got Ryan Wood to fly out to grab the save.

The Knights and Pirates are back at it Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch, while the series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

Season tickets as well as single-game tickets to check out UCF baseball this year are currently available by contacting the UCF Ticket Office at 407-823-1000, or by going online at www.ucfathletics.com, the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Game Notes
East Carolina - 16-7 Overall, 1-3 Conference USA
No. 19 UCF - 22-4 Overall, 2-2 Conference USA
WP: Mitch Houck (3-0), 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
LP: T.J. Hose (1-3), 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K
SV: Justin Weiss (4), 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Mitch Houck's hitless streak ended in the top of the first at 8.0 innings when Ryan Wood got aboard with a one-out single. But Houck then picked him off first base, and added another pickoff in the sixth inning to give him six on the year.
- Knight pitchers struck out 12 Pirates, marking the 19th time this season they accumulated double-digit strikeouts.
- Ryan Richardson stole his seventh base of 2008. It also was UCF's 59th stolen base, which matches the Knights' total from the entire 2006 season.
- UCF has now stolen at least one base in 20 of its last 21 games.
- The Knights' record in one-run games moved to 5-0, while their home record went to 19-1.
- Chris Duffy was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
- The win ended a five-game losing streak to East Carolina.