UCF Opens Home Series with 4-2 Victory Over Tulane


April 10, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

Notes for the April 11 Game in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - A two-run single from junior Shane Brown put UCF ahead in the fifth inning and senior Kiko Vazquez added some insurance with a solo homer in the sixth for a 4-2 win vs. Tulane (17-16, 1-6) Friday in Orlando. The victory lifted the Knights' record to 12-22 and 3-7 in Conference USA.

"I tell you that it was a total team effort for our kids tonight," said head coach Terry Rooney. "The way they played the game, there were so many guys that really contributed in a very valuable way and a lot of guys continue to improve. That is the things that you look for. Pitchers responding back from maybe a poor outing had good outings tonight. Jake Huxtable who I have counted on to bunt several times got a huge sacrifice down for us tonight. He has done a great job and has been working like crazy on that. The kids deserve a lot of credit. They did a tremendous job tonight."

Senior Caleb Graham started for the Black and Gold and proceeded to limit the Green Wave to two runs on three hits in 4.1 innings with four strikeouts. The bullpen consisting of junior Cory Weech (4-1), who picked up the win, freshman Bryan Brown and seniors Kyle Sweat and Justin Weiss combined to pitch the final 4.2 frames without surrendering a run and sitting down eight on strikes.

Weiss entered in the ninth and struck out Seth Henry with the bases loaded to grab his fifth save of 2009. It also was his 21st save of his career, tying him with Brian Huie for second on UCF's all-time list.

"It was a great game and our first Friday night win this year in a great conference," said Graham. "Tulane is a great ball club and you have to get ahead with your pitches, and make them hit your pitch. That is what happened tonight. I stayed up in the count and down in the zone and that is what has worked for me."

Senior Colin Arnold's hitting streak reached 17 games when he led off the UCF first with a homer. His streak is now tied with Vazquez for the sixth-best in school history.

Vazquez got into the action as well, pounding out career home run No. 24 to climb into a tie with Sam Nattile for seventh on the all-time chart. It also was Vazquez's eighth of the year, one shy of tying his single-season best of nine set in 2007.

The two clubs traded first-inning solo homers, with Sam Honeck taking Graham deep and Arnold returning the favor with a leadoff dinger against Jonathan Garrett. Honeck then scored the go-ahead run in the fourth when he was hit by a Graham offering, reached second on a wild pitch and scored on a Jeremy Schaffer base hit.

Tulane came extremely close to breaking the game wide open in the top of the fifth, but Weech shut the Green Wave offense down after the bases were loaded and one out. Schaffer dug in and promptly struck out on a 1-2 pitch, and Henry followed by swinging at a 2-2 inside breaking ball to leave three stranded.

That proved to be a huge performance on the mound, as Brown made them pay. Following leadoff singles from senior Eric Kallstrom and Arnold, freshman Jake Huxtable laid down the perfect sacrifice bunt to get them into scoring position. The move paid off as Brown laced a two-run single to left, returning the lead to the Knights.

With the 3-2 advantage, Vazquez delivered another long ball in the sixth, driving a solo shot into the palm trees in left field.

Once again, though, it appeared Tulane would ruin UCF's momentum. When the eighth inning approached, Bryan Brown left the game as the Green Wave put one aboard with one down on an error. Sweat ventured out from the bullpen for the first time this year and escaped a first-and-third jam with an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

One more try in the ninth again was spoiled, this time by Weiss. The first two batters reached before Scott Powell looked at a called third strike. Honeck, C-USA's leading home run hitter, stepped in and worked it to 3-0 until he fouled off the next two pitches. The first baseman then swung through a pitch low in the zone for the second out. Although Schaffer got on by way of an infield single, Henry went down swinging as well to leave the bases loaded.

UCF Alumni Weekend continues when the Knights host their annual golf outing Saturday morning at Stoneybrook East Golf Club. They then will resume their series vs. the Green Wave at 4 p.m.

Baseball flex pack voucher packages as well as single game tickets are on sale 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
Tulane - 17-16 Overall, 1-6 Conference USA
UCF - 12-22 Overall, 3-7 Conference USA
WP: Cory Weech (4-1), 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
LP: Jonathan Garrett (2-1), 8.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
SV: Justin Weiss (5), 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- Colin Arnold's homer was UCF's first leadoff dinger since Matt Ray's blast at Marshall March 13, 2006.
- Arnold, Brandon Romans and Eric Kallstrom each had two hits for the Knights.
- With Justin Weiss' 21st-career save, he now trails Jason Arnold's UCF record by six as the hurler posted 27 saves from 1998-01.
- Kiko Vazquez needs just two home runs to tie Dee Brown for sixth on the UCF all-time list. Brown connected for 26 dingers from 2002-05.
- UCF left just five runners on base compared to Tulane's 12. The Knights outhit the Green Wave, 10-8.
- UCF's pitching staff combined for 12 strikeouts Friday night.