Brown's Career-Day Guides UCF to a 12-6 Win vs. VCU


Feb. 22, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Junior Shane Brown set career-highs with four hits and five RBI to lift the UCF baseball team past Virginia Commonwealth, 12-6, Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. The Knights racked up 15 hits on the afternoon to improve to 2-1 on the season.

"I tell you what, the guys really responded today," said head coach Terry Rooney. "This is a unique week for us because we play a Monday game. This is the only time all year that we have a Monday game. So I really challenged these guys and I said, `how we respond and how we come back after last night's tough loss is going to tell a lot about this team and the character of this team.' These guys have been working as hard as any coach can ever want, and they believe in themselves, have confidence and are never giving up."

Brown extended his hitting streak to seven dating back to last year by going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, falling a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Making his first start at catcher since 2007, he also tied a career-high with four runs scored and pounded out a two-run homer in the fourth inning. That dinger was one of three by the Knights, as senior Chadd Hartman and junior Chris Duffy also came through with home runs. The duo also had three RBI a piece, which matched a personal-best for Hartman.

For the second-straight game against VCU (1-2), UCF pitchers failed to a walk batter, as they have only walked one in their first three games of the year. Senior Caleb Graham picked up the win by hurling four innings of relief.

On a perfect 72-degree afternoon, senior Colin Arnold brought the offense to life right away in the first. Facing righty Will Hirsch, Arnold bounced a 2-2 pitch just inside the first-base bag and into the right-field corner for his first-career triple. Brown quickly brought him in on a single to right-center, and he later reached second on a fielding error with senior Kiko Vazquez at the dish. A left-handed stick, Hartman then delivered a first-base single to right, scoring Brown to make it 2-0.

VCU did not back down in the second, promptly loading the bases with nobody outs vs. freshman D.J. Hicks, who was making his first collegiate appearance on the mound. A pair of fielding errors helped the Rams' cause, as they went on to score three runs for the 3-2 advantage.

Hirsch got through the second with little trouble, only to see UCF use the long ball in the third. A walk to Arnold and base hit off the bat of Brown put the first two Knights aboard for Duffy who hammered his first homer of 2009 over the right-center wall to enable UCF to retake the lead. The next pitch from Hirsch hit Vazquez, setting up Hartman's two-run jack to center, stretching the cushion to four runs.

Although VCU struck for one in its half of the fourth, Brown responded with a home run of his own, sending a 1-1 offering from Darryl Stringfield to center with freshman Austin Smith on base. Now up 9-4 through four frames, Graham strode in from the pen and shut down the Rams on eight pitches in the fifth.

Justin Wright did cut into the VCU deficit with a solo blast in the sixth, and two innings later R.J. Schenk added a one-run shot as well. Later in the eighth, the Rams put two in scoring position with no outs vs. Graham. Facing Nate Furry, Graham got the catcher swinging at an 0-2 breaking ball for the first out, and induced Matt Leskiw to line into a 1-4 double play to keep it at 9-6.

Graham's efforts allowed the Knights' offense to post three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Kicked off by base hits from senior Nick Choto and Smith, Arnold sacrificed them both over a base, giving way to Brown's two-run double down the left-field line. Seth Cutler-Voltz entered from the pen and was greeted by a RBI single by Vazquez to wrap up the day's scoring.

UCF and Virginia Commonwealth will wrap up the four-game series Monday with a 1 p.m. showdown.

Baseball season and single game tickets are on sale now for the 2009 campaign. Call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 for more information. Fans may also visit UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, and is the home of UCF's online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Game Notes
Virginia Commonwealth - 1-2 overall
UCF - 2-1 overall
WP: Caleb Graham (1-0), 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
LP: Will Hirsch (0-1), 2.0 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
-Sunday's attendance of 1,221 brought the series total to 4,739, which ranks as the third-highest attended series in UCF history.
-In three games in right field, Colin Arnold already has posted two outfield assists. He recorded one in the first game of the year and his second in the second inning Sunday.
-Kiko Vazquez was hit with a pitch for the 29th time in his career, giving him sole possession of fourth on the UCF all-time list.
-Chadd Hartman posted a base hit in his first three plate appearances of the season, notching a single as a pinch-hitter Feb. 20, and a single and homer in his first two showings Sunday.
-Both teams have posted double-digit hits in all three games of the series.
-Freshman Jake Huxtable picked up his first career base hit, a single, in the seventh inning.
-Freshman D.J. Hicks finished his starting debut with 4.0 innings, six hits, no walks and just two earned runs.