UCF Sets Record for Most C-USA Victories in Series Win vs. Houston


May 16, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Looking for one more win to secure a spot in the Conference USA Championship, UCF used another strong start by senior pitcher Kyle Sweat (Apopka, Fla.) in a 4-1 victory over Houston Saturday in the regular-season finale for both clubs. The Knights (22-33 overall) jumped to 9-15 in league play in 2009, marking their most C-USA wins since joining the league in 2006.

With the regular season in the past, UCF now focuses on the postseason and will serve as the No. 8 seed for the double-elimination C-USA Championship hosted by Southern Miss. The Black and Gold will meet either Rice or East Carolina Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET.

A total of 13 seniors competed in their final home game as a Knight, and they were led by Sweat (3-3) on the mound. After working 1.1 innings of relief Thursday night, the righty held the Cougars to only one hit in 5.0 scoreless innings, striking out two and walking one. Sweat now has started 47-career games to rank third on the UCF all-time list.

"Well obviously you talk about having an opportunity to go to the postseason, and that's everybody's goal in college baseball," said first-year head coach Terry Rooney. "The guys did a tremendous job today. We have talked about this the entire season and that's how the effort of these guys has been there the entire way. I'm proud of all of these seniors for them to go out like this today in front of their family and friends. It's really awesome.

"And I'm proud of this program. This is the most wins we've had in Conference USA since we've been there. There's a lot of firsts this year with this baseball program, but right now we've got a job to do, and I told the players, `listen, we're going to Hattiesburg expecting to win.'"

The series triumph over UH was UCF's third in C-USA play in 2009, as the Knights went 9-8 in their final 17 league games down the stretch.

Every senior in the starting lineup connected for at least one hit, with Colin Arnold and Eric Kallstrom pacing the bats with two hits apiece. Meanwhile, junior Chris Duffy went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a pair of runs.

"I had a little moment right before I stepped into the box that this was going to be my last at-bat," said Kallstrom, who sits in the top seven in career at-bats at UCF and had a single in his final home appearance at the plate. "I was just going to take a hack at the first pitch I saw. With it definitely being my last game here I wanted to have a strong game."

The Knights' first hit of the game produced a run in the second inning against righty Michael Goodnight. Following a leadoff walk to freshman D.J. Hicks, Duffy blasted a double off the right-center wall, driving in Hicks. Eventually with one away, Arnold bounced a RBI double down the right-field line to make it 2-0.

And with Sweat rolling right along, UCF stepped into the box for the bottom of the fifth and was not affected by a three-minute rain delay. With senior Kiko Vazquez aboard thanks to a leadoff double, Duffy quickly brought him in by sending William Kankel's first pitch of the at-bat deep to center for a two-bagger of his own. The lead was pushed to 4-0 by way of a two-out RBI single from Kallstrom.

A four-run lead in C-USA is never safe, but freshman Bryan Brown shut the door from the sixth to the eighth innings, giving up just three hits, no runs and not walking a Cougar to keep the Knights ahead. UH may have plated one run in the ninth to avoid the shutout, but UCF never left the driver's seat to ensure itself of a postseason spot.

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Game Notes
Houston - 25-29 Overall, 13-11 Conference USA
UCF - 22-33 Overall, 9-15 Conference USA
WP: Kyle Sweat (3-3), 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
LP: Michael Goodnight (4-5), 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K
- UCF will now meet Rice or East Carolina in the first round of the C-USA Championship. As of 5 p.m. Rice was tied with UAB in their series finale and if the Owls win, they will face the Knights. But if Rice loses, then ECU will get the No. 1 seed and square off against UCF.
- The Knights experienced 3,228 fans come out to the ballpark for the series against Houston. That ranked as the ninth-largest attended series in UCF history. In 2009, four of the top 10 series crowds were recorded, including the No. 1-ranked series vs. Virginia Commonwealth to open the campaign.
- Kyle Sweat's outing capped off a regular-season stretch of 13-straight games UCF starting pitchers went at least 5.0 innings in C-USA contests.
- For the third-straight game, freshman catcher Beau Taylor threw out a runner trying to steal when he sent Chris Wallace back to the dugout in the second inning. It was Taylor's league-leading 23rd runner caught stealing.
- Houston was limited to six hits in the finale, tying for the fewest hits by a UCF opponent this year.