No. 25 Baseball Prevails in 16 Innings to Defeat Monmouth, 5-4


March 9, 2008

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Eric Kallstrom's two-out RBI single in the 16th inning ended a gut-wrenching 5-4 victory for the No. 25 UCF baseball team over Monmouth Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. The game lasted 5:28 and fell one inning shy of matching the longest contest in UCF history, a 17-inning affair vs. Rollins in 1982.

The victory over the Hawks (1-5) insured UCF (11-1) of its third-straight three-game series sweep, a feat it had not accomplished since the 2004 season. Kallstrom finished his afternoon 2-for-8 to tie Jay Bergman, Jr.'s record for at-bats in a game, as Bergman also posted eight at-bats vs. Rollins March 31, 1984.

Meanwhile, the 16-inning game tied for the fourth-longest in Conference USA history, and the 11-1 start for UCF matched the fifth-best record of one-loss teams in the C-USA books.

Sophomore Shane Brown, who set a UCF record with 19 putouts at first base, used the 16th inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, leading off the deciding frame with a double to right. He would later be sacrificed to third by pinch-hitter Stephen Branca, setting up Kallstrom's game-winning single.

Junior Colin Arnold stretched his hitting streak as well, moving it to 12 games in the victory. On the mound, junior Mitch Herold, a native of Merritt Island, Fla., did not pick up a decision in 6.0 innings of work, as the Hawks knocked out just three hits against him. Freshman Brennan Dobbins, who hails from Longwood, Fla., tossed the final 3.0 innings and fanned seven for his first collegiate victory. Knight pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts, which was one shy of the school's all-time mark.

"The one thing coach Cozart always tells us to do is go out there and battle and try and make sure you do everything you can to get people out," said Dobbins. "I think that once I got people on base, I really started to bear down a little bit and go for it. I had lots of help from my catcher, Robert Lara. He takes care of me back there. I don't have that much experience so it's nice to have somebody there."

It was a duel between southpaws as Herold and Matt Marc-Aurele shut down batters early. UCF senior Ryan Richardson finally provided the game's first hit in the bottom of the fourth on a hard chopper back to the mound that was tipped off Marc-Aurele's glove for an infield single.

Herold, meanwhile, lasted 4.1 innings before surrendering a single through the left side to Kyle Higgins. Paul Bottigliero followed with a single of his own to place runners at the corners with one down. While Herold picked up out No. 2 on a shallow fly ball to right, a passed ball gave the Hawks the 1-0 lead.

UCF answered right away in its half of the fifth and eventually forced Monmouth to go to its pen. Already having two outs on the board and Lara on first, senior Dwayne Bailey walked and classmate Tyson Auer hit a dribbler towards third for an infield single. On the play, though, third baseman Ryan Terry made the decision to throw to first and his effort sailed over Andy Meyers' head to the fence, permitting Lara to score the tying run. Moments later, two hit batsmen gave the Knights the lead as Marc-Aurele retreated to the dugout.

Another two-out rally, this time with no one on base, made the cushion a little more comfortable in the sixth. Lara got it started thanks to a single to center against Brett Conner, and Siebenaler laced and infield single to short, where Higgins' throw was wild and helped Lara score. Bailey then made it 4-1 with a single to plate Siebenaler.

Now holding a three-run advantage, Herold was relieved in the seventh by freshman Evan Stobbs. The righty promptly pitched 2.0 scoreless innings, including striking out the side in the eighth, until the ninth inning where Monmouth somehow found a way to tie it up at 4-4. With two down, Bobby Dombrowski delivered an RBI double, and after senior Brian Griggs stepped out of the bullpen, pinch-hitter Nick Pulsonetti sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence to bring the game to extras.

Knight closer Justin Weiss took over on the mound in the 10th inning and was matching Monmouth hurler Justin Esposito pitch for pitch, with neither team collecting a run for the next six frames. Weiss completed his outing by tying a career-high with 4.0 innings of work, striking out three. Dobbins became the fifth pitcher of record and got into serious trouble, loading the bases with one out in the 14th. Amazingly, the right-hander used 10 pitches to strike out Higgins on a 3-2 pitch, then got John Dennis to go down swinging as well, as Monmouth left them loaded.

When the 15th rolled along, Esposito was relieved by Steve Sanguiliano after Esposito went 6.0 scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and striking out three. Although the Knights still could not score, Dobbins survived the 16th by leaving runners at second and third, striking out Dennis with two away.

With a rowdy contingent of UCF faithful still on hand, Brown opened the 16th with his double to right, allowing Kallstrom the opportunity to line a 3-1 pitch that was just out of Higgins' reach at shortstop for an RBI infield single and hand the Knights the win.

UCF will now have Monday off before hosting Pittsburgh Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field. It will be the first time the programs have met since 1991.

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.

Even More Game Notes
Monmouth - 1-5 Overall, 0-0 Northeast Conference
No. 25 UCF - 11-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA
WP: Brennan Dobbins (1-0), 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
LP: Steve Sanguiliano (0-1), 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
- The Knights have now won their last four extra-inning games dating back to last season.
- UCF (18) and Monmouth (18) combined to leave 36 runners on base.
- As a team, UCF had 56 at-bats in the game, which tied a school record set vs. Rollins March 31, 1984.
- The 11-1 record equals the best 12-game start to a UCF season, as the 1977 team also opened its campaign with an 11-1 record.
- Sophomore Kyle Mills made his first start of the year, serving as the designated hitter and batting in the No. 7 hole.
- Junior Matt Manning, a transfer from Brevard CC, saw action for the first time as a Knight, entering the seventh inning as a pinch-runner.
- Sunday marked the first game of the season that UCF reached the fourth inning in a 0-0 tie.
- Monmouth scored first in all three games of the series.
- Josh Siebenaler, Tyson Auer, Dwayne Bailey and Ryan Richardson all swiped a base in the victory.
- Tyson Auer led the Knights with three base hits, while Shane Brown drew three walks.