UCF Baseball Drops Series to No. 4 Rice in Tight 7-6 Loss


April 27, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - No. 4 Rice scored two runs in the seventh to end a 4-4 tie en route to defeating the UCF baseball team, 7-6, Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. The victory for the first-place Owls (34-11, 15-3) ensured them of earning the Conference USA series win over the Knights, who fell to 27-18 on the year and 5-13 in league play.

Senior Tyson Auer stretched his hitting streak to 11 games Sunday, and senior Ryan Richardson and junior Kiko Vazquez both homered in the loss. Also pacing the Knights offensively, senior Dwayne Bailey and junior Colin Arnold collected two hits apiece from the top two spots in the UCF order.

It was not until the bottom of the third with two down that Bailey recorded the game's first hit, sending a 3-2 pitch from Matt Langwell into right-center for a double. After Langwell left him stranded, though, UCF starter Mitch Houck gave up his first hit with two down in the fourth. That proved to be costly as the Owls eventually scored four two-out runs, forcing the Knights to go to their pen the rest of the afternoon.

The trend of two-out rallies continued in the bottom half, where Langwell picked up the first two outs only to walk junior Brandon Romans and surrender a single up the middle to Auer. Junior Chadd Hartman, who was making his seventh start of the year, then stepped to the plate and rifled a 2-2 offering just inside the first-base bag for a two-run triple. Third baseman Josh Siebenaler also came through, blasting a 3-2 pitch into center to cut it to 4-3.

UCF returned in the fifth vs. reliever Bryan Price, and got a fortunate break when Arnold led off and sent a bouncer to first that took an awkward hop over J.P. Padron's head and into right field. Arnold promptly stole second and reached third on a groundout to first. Vazquez brought in his teammate with a ground ball to short as the two clubs reached the sixth knotted up at 4-4.

The Knights had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the sixth, putting two runners on with one out as well as loading them up with two down, but could not take advantage. Rick Hague and Adam Zornes made them pay in the seventh, blasting back-to-back solo homers for a 6-4 advantage.

Even though it seemed the wind was taken out of the Knights' sails, Richardson kept his team close by drilling a Matt Evers pitch deep over the left-field wall in the home half. UCF later would put a runner at second in both the seventh and eighth innings, yet could not convert its chances. Rice then sealed it with an insurance run in the ninth, and that ended up being the winning run since Vazquez added a solo dinger in the bottom half. Following the homer given up to the UCF first baseman, Cole St. Clair settled down and retired the next three Knights for the save.

Non-conference play will resume for the Knights when they travel to Tampa to battle USF Tuesday at 7 p.m.

UCF baseball single-game tickets 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
No. 4 Rice - 34-11 Overall, 15-3 Conference USA
UCF - 27-18 Overall, 5-13 Conference USA
WP: Matt Evers (3-1) 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
LP: Cody Allen (2-1) 2.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
SV: Cole St. Clair (3), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Chadd Hartman's triple in the fourth inning was his second of the season and sixth of his career.
- Colin Arnold stole his 12th base of the year in the fifth.
- Mitch Houck finished his start with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
- Austin Hudson worked 1.2 scoreless innings of relief with a strikeout.
- All six UCF runs were scored by six different players.
- Rice left 12 runners on base compared to 10 by the Knights.
- Tyson Auer recorded his 215th career hit Sunday. He is now just one hit shy of entering UCF's top-10 career hit list.
- Kiko Vazquez finished the Rice series by going 5-for-10 with two homers.
- A total of 3,682 fans entered the gates of Jay Bergman Field for the three-game series vs. Rice, which ranks as the fourth-largest attended series in stadium history. This year alone has seen five of the top-10 series crowds come out to The Berg.
- UCF entered the series 5-1 in one-run games this year, but Rice snuck out two one-run victories in the final two games of the weekend.
- Both UCF and Rice scored 13 runs apiece in the three-game series.