UCF Falls to No. 25 Florida in Front of a School-Record Crowd


March 18, 2009

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Playing in front of a packed house Wednesday night, the UCF baseball team (7-12) only trailed No. 25 Florida 3-1 in the seventh before the Gators (11-7) added some insurance for a 7-3 win over the Knights. A school-record 2,758 fans jammed Jay Bergman Field, eclipsing the previous mark of 2,397 set last year against USF.

"I thought our guys battled very, very hard tonight," said first-year head coach Terry Rooney. "I am so proud of the effort of this team. You have to tip your hat to Florida. They got some big hits in the clutch when they needed them. We had opportunities tonight offensively and we just didn't hit in the clutch, unfortunately. However our guys played a great game. We played solid and I thought we pitched tremendously.

"(The huge crowd) is all part of building a program. This is why I took the job here. My expectations of this job and this position have never changed. They never will change. Part of that is the fan support. The reason that they are coming out is the way that these kids are playing the game. The results from the wins and losses are not what we want right now, but we will get there. These kids are playing so hard. Everyone speaks so highly about the way that we are playing the game."

Junior Shane Brown's hitting streak was extended to 11 games, while senior Brandon Romans crushed his sixth homer of the year in the ninth inning. The Knights left 11 on base Wednesday vs. the Gators, and had a chance to get back in the game in the seventh. Trailing 5-2 and with the bases loaded and no outs, the Black and Gold scored one run only to see UF escape a possible huge inning by the Knights thanks to an inning-ending double play.

The Knights used seven pitchers in the contest, with junior Cory Weech, seniors Caleb Graham and Justin Weiss and sophomore Brennan Dobbins each not allowing a run in their respective outings. The septuplets limited Florida to eight hits, as UCF finished with nine hits.

UCF put together the first chance of the evening, getting runners at the corners with no outs in the second inning against Florida starter Anthony DeSclafani. However the Gator righty retired the side on a strikeout, pop out and line out.

When UF returned to the plate in the top of the third, it secured a 3-0 advantage off of freshman hurler Bryan Brown before the Knights went to the pen. Weech stepped in with runners at first and third and one down, and proceeded to limit the Gators to just the three runs when freshman Beau Taylor threw out Avery Barnes trying to steal second and Buddy Munroe grounded out to short.

While Weech went 1.2 hitless innings with two strikeouts, the Black and Gold received a couple gifts in the fourth as the Gators committed two two-out errors. Freshman Austin Smith then strode to the plate and delivered a RBI single to right to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Knights eventually had two runners aboard in the sixth vs. UF reliever Clint Franklin, yet could not tie it up.

The combination of Weech, Graham and freshman D.J. Hicks retired 11-straight Gators until Daniel Pigott singled to right with one out in the seventh. Following a walk, Clayton Pisani sent a double down the left-field line, boosting UF's lead to 5-1.

UCF threatened again in the its half of the seventh, loading the bases on singles from senior Colin Arnold and freshman Jake Huxtable as well as a walk to Shane Brown. Right-handed hitting Romans did his job, sending a fly ball the opposite way for a sac fly. Lefty Tony Davis stepped on the hill and got ahead of fellow lefty Taylor 0-2 before issuing the walk, reloading the bases. But senior Kiko Vazquez strode to the dish and hit the first pitch for a 4-6-3 double play.

After escaping, Florida came through with two more runs in the eighth to ultimately secure the victory. Romans completed the scoring in the bottom of the ninth when he drove a two-out, two-strike offering from Billy Bullock deep over the left-center wall for his team-leading sixth home run.

The Knights now enter Conference USA action this weekend when they travel to North Carolina to face off with No. 23 East Carolina starting Friday at 7 p.m.

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
No. 25 Florida - 11-7 overall
UCF - 7-12 overall
WP: Anthony DeSclafani (1-0), 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
LP: Bryan Brown (0-3), 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
-Wednesday's game was televised by Bright House Sports Network. The station will return to the UCF campus when the Knights host Jacksonville March 24 at 6:30 p.m.
-The attendance of 2,758 marked the third time in school history that a crowd of over 2,000 witnessed a home UCF baseball game. Along with last year's crowd of 2,397 against USF April 1, a total of 2,170 fans came out for the opening of Jay Bergman Field against Florida International Feb. 3, 2001.
-The previous 2009 season-high for attendance was Opening Day when 1,897 caught the Knights in action vs. Virginia Commonwealth.
-UCF limited Florida to eight hits, the second-fewest by a Knights' opponent this year (six by Hartford March 13).
-Freshman catcher Beau Taylor threw out his seventh would-be basestealer in the third inning.
-Taylor and Colin Arnold each had two hits for the Black and Gold.