Hicks Homers Twice, Gets the Save in UCF's 9-5 Win Over No. 25 USF


April 28, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

Notes for the April 29 Game in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Backed by two long balls from freshman D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.), UCF delivered a 9-5 victory over No. 25 USF Tuesday in Orlando. Sophomore Evan Stobbs (Myakka City, Fla.) made his first collegiate start on the mound and promptly had career-highs with 6.2 innings and seven strikeouts to boost the Knights' record to 16-26.

"Coach Cliff Godwin and I have been working in the cages nonstop and it's finally starting to pay off," said Hicks. "I hit (the first homer) well but with this wind I didn't really see it going out. But the hitter's eye must have been blocking the wind and helped me out a bit."

That homer came with two aboard and two down in the fourth as the Knights trailed 3-0 to the Bulls (27-16). Hicks then crushed a two-run shot to give UCF the lead for good in the sixth. It was his third home run in his last four at-bats going back to Sunday at UAB. Hicks now has four dingers on the season and they have all occurred in the last four games. He finished Tuesday's outing 2-for-5 with a personal-best five RBI, and even worked the final 1.2 innings of hitless relief for his third save.

Senior Brandon Romans eventually put it away with a two-out, three-run homer of his own in the eighth. That was his team-leading 12th of the season. Meanwhile, senior Colin Arnold and National Player of the Week Shane Brown also added two hits for the Black and Gold.

"Tonight was one of the best wins that we've had all year," said head coach Terry Rooney. "I told these guys that persistence was the key tonight, and when you think about it that was the theme. Evan Stobbs gave up runs in the first and second innings but he persisted, hung in there, kept his poise and put zeros up the rest of the way."

Stobbs received the start following 26 relief appearances in two seasons, including 15 in 2009. Although he worked into some trouble in the early innings, he went on to toss 70 of 108 pitches for strikes, walking just one and fanning seven in 6.2. At one point he sat down five-straight Bulls on strikes.

USF jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, but it could have been more as it had runners at second and third with no outs. However, the Bulls came right back in the second with a pair of runs to bring it to 3-0.

Bulls starter Matt Quevedo got ahead of most Knight batters through the first three frames. As they still hung on to the three-run cushion, one swing of the bat would change that in the fourth. Two one-out singles from freshman Beau Taylor and senior Kiko Vazquez started the rally and eventually with two away, Hicks dug in. Facing a 2-1 count and with the wind blowing in from right-center, the UCF freshman still got all of a Quevedo offering, blasting a three-run job to dead center to tie it up.

While Stobbs was busy striking out five-straight from the fourth to the sixth stanzas, Hicks was at it again in the bottom of the sixth. After the first two batters were retired, junior Chris Duffy walked with the count full to set up another two-out 2-1 home run from Hicks that cleared the right-field wall with plenty of room to spare. UCF then doubled up on the Bulls in the seventh by way of a sac fly off the bat of Duffy.

Now holding a 6-3 advantage, the Knights witnessed USF load them up with one down in the eighth where Sam Mende connected for a two-run single. That was when Hicks, who was serving as UCF's designated hitter in the lineup, strode in and proceeded to get the final two outs, leaving the bases loaded in the process.

With Hicks shutting the door on USF's hopes of a comeback, Romans ensured the Black and Gold of its victory by launching a three-run home run over the left-field wall with two down in the eighth.

The four-game 2009 series with USF will conclude in Tampa Wednesday at 7 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
No. 25 USF - 27-16 Overall
UCF - 16-26 Overall
WP: Evan Stobbs (1-1), 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
LP: Matt Quevedo (5-1), 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
SV: D.J. Hicks (3), 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- The Knights are now victorious in four of their last five games.
- They also have hit at least three homers in three of their previous four outings.
- UCF has made several defensive gems this year, and left fielder Chris Duffy added to the highlight reel in the seventh inning. Leading off the frame, Peter Brotons skied a ball foul down the left-field line that was destined for the berm. Yet Duffy gave a full sprint, reached over to make the catch and while doing so, flipped head-over-heels over the fence and onto the grass.
- Cory Weech (one) and D.J. Hicks (two) came on in relief with runners on base and both hurlers left them stranded.