Dobbins Dazzles in Relief in UCF's 7-3 Win at North Florida


April 7, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

Wednesday's Game Notes in PDF Format

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF was greeted by a chilly and windy night in Jacksonville, but the conditions played no affect on the Knights as they cruised by North Florida, 7-3, Tuesday evening. Sophomore reliever Brennan Dobbins worked a career-high 6.0 innings without giving up an earned run to guide the Knights (11-21) to the victory over the Ospreys (14-19).

North Florida had its chances early but stranded seven runners in the first four innings by witnessing freshman starter Jordan Rasinski and Dobbins confuse hitters all night long. Dobbins took over in the second inning and went on to toss 104 pitches in a career-high 6.0 innings of work. The only runs he allowed were a pair of unearned runs in the eighth inning, while he finished with four strikeouts.

Streaking right along, junior Shane Brown's double with the bases juiced in the third inning bumped his hitting streak to 22 games, which trails Mike Myers' school record by four games. Meanwhile, senior Colin Arnold went 3-for-4 to improve his career-high streak to 15 outings.

Continuing his climb up UCF's career home run chart, senior Kiko Vazquez cranked out his seventh homer of 2009 and the 23rd in a UCF uniform, which moved him into a tie for eighth with Chad Mottola. Against UNF, Vazquez drove in a run on a solo homer, single and a sacrifice fly to finish with three RBI.

And entering double-digits, senior Brandon Romans hammered his 10th home run of the year in the ninth inning. The catcher became the first Knight since Dee Brown (18) and John-Michael Howell (15) in 2005 to connect for at least 10 dingers in a season.

Making his first collegiate start, Rasinski found himself in trouble in the top of the first after walking the leadoff man and giving up a single. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position with nobody out and UNF looked destined for a big inning.

That was when the freshman worked some magic. Even though he fell behind 3-1 to Preston Hale, Rasinski and shortstop Eric Kallstrom pulled the Knights out of it. Hale and Justin Preckajlo both popped up to Kallstrom, and on a 2-2 offering, TJ Thompson smashed a groundball that Kallstrom had to race to his left for. The senior made a diving play to knock the ball down with his glove, picked it up and threw over to first to barely get Thompson for the third out.

Somehow keeping UNF scoreless, UCF answered with the long ball in the second. With a two-strike approach against lefty Michael Kelly, Vazquez took a 1-2 outside pitch the opposite way and over the 365-foot sign in right-center for his second homer in as many games.

Rasinski was forced to try and escape another jam in the home half, loading the bases with one out. He then fanned Brian Wilson on three pitches before being lifted for Dobbins, who went to 0-2 on Michael Smith before the DH lifted a fastball to left where Brown came down with it.

With the Ospreys threatening but not getting on the board, UCF made them pay. After putting on a defensive show, Kallstrom opened the third with a single to right, and senior Kyle Mills laid down a sac bunt that Kelly mishandled. Arnold followed with an infield single to fill the bases and one out later, Brown drove a three-run double into the right-center gap. Already up 4-0, Vazquez completed the frame by driving in Brown with a two-out single to left.

Dobbins ensured that the five-run advantage stuck. UNF may have put at least one runner aboard from innings 3-6, however the Ospreys failed to light up the scoreboard each time, highlighted by them hitting into three double plays during that span.

Vazquez boosted UCF's lead to 6-0 thanks to a sac fly with the bases loaded in the seventh and that run looked big in the bottom of the eight. In that frame, Dobbins retired the first two until a single and a walk placed two on and error continued the inning, as well as filled the bags for TJ Gavlik, who was issued a free pass on four pitches. Senior closer Justin Weiss entered and walked another man, bringing the tying run to the dish. Weiss managed to buckle down vs. Sam Perry in the next at-bat, and earned another huge out for the Knights when the shortstop popped up to second.

Still holding on to its advantage over the Ospreys, Romans capped off the Black and Gold's scoring with a solo homer to deep left-center in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, Weiss had to work around a potential game-ending double play ball that took a nasty hop and into right-center, as UNF tallied one more for the final 7-3 margin. He did pick up his fourth save during his senior year as he entered the game with the tying run on deck.

The five-game road trip for the Knights wraps up with a one-game showdown with No. 22 Florida Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Gainesville. UCF returns home this weekend for a Conference USA series against Tulane starting Friday at 6:30 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
UCF - 11-21 Overall
North Florida - 14-19 Overall
WP: Brennan Dobbins (1-1), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
LP: Michael Kelly (0-2), 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
SV: Justin Weiss (4), 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
- Bright House Sports Network announced Tuesday that it will pick up the postponed game between UCF and Stetson originally scheduled for March 31. The new date is now May 12 at 6:30 p.m. in DeLand, and the network will air the game on tape-delay at 8 p.m.
- With 23 homers, Kiko Vazquez now trails Sam Nattile (24 HR) for seventh on the all-time list.
- Jordan Rasinski became the eighth different Knight to receive a start on the mound this year, and the third freshman (D.J. Hicks, Bryan Brown).
- The Knights' defense turned a season-high three double plays, two on ground balls and another on a lineout to short.
- The pitching staff limited an opponent to just six hits for the second-straight game. It has held a team to a season-best six hits three times this season.
- Justin Weiss grabbed career save No. 20 Tuesday. He is now one of only three pitchers in UCF history to post at least 20 saves, as Jason Arnold (1998-01) leads the way with 27 and Brian Huie (1990-92) ranks second with 21.
- Colin Arnold and Kiko Vazquez each had three hits while Eric Kallstrom added a pair.