UCF Sends Fans Home Happy With Walk-Off Winner in the 11th


May 3, 2009

Final Stats

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - An error with two outs in the bottom of the 11th gave UCF an important 8-7 victory over Marshall in the final game of a Conference USA series Sunday in Orlando. The Knights (17-29, 6-12) had the bases loaded vs. the Thundering Herd (19-27, 8-13) when junior Shane Brown witnessed his ground ball get booted by Ramone Tate, allowing junior Chris Duffy to score the winning run.

The 11th all started when Duffy bounced a hard chopper into the right-field corner for his second-career triple. With Marshall closer Austin Coan on the hill, the righty intentionally walked the next two batters and it looked like that would work when he picked up two quick outs. Coan went to 1-0 on Brown before his grounder to second caught a piece of Tate's glove and trickled behind him, proving to be the difference in the game.

The Knights received another quality weekend start from a senior hurler, as Kyle Sweat came through with 7.0 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. The righty allowed just two earned runs on seven hits. Picking up the victory, freshman Jordan Rasinski improved to 2-0 by tossing the final 2.2 frames without surrendering a run and sitting down two on strikes.

"The guys continued to show their resiliency, and I've been talking about the ability to never give up and obviously today was a demonstration of that," said first-year head coach Terry Rooney. "But it all starts with your pitching and Kyle Sweat went out and did an unbelievable job. It was big for Kyle because he threw a little bit on Friday and I had him ready last night too. And Jordan Rasinski has a little something about him. He's come in in a lot of big situations, and (today) he was able to hold on for the win. That guy has been tremendous for us."

Continuing his journey up the UCF record book, senior Brandon Romans belted his 14th home run of 2009 to move into a tie for sixth on the Knights' single-season list. Meanwhile the career home run chart saw action as well when senior Kiko Vazquez pounded out No. 28 in the eighth inning. The first baseman ranks sixth in the prestigious record book.

Duffy also shined at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs.

For the third time this series, Marshall got on the board in the first inning, getting the first three on base en route to scoring two runs off Sweat. Even though Romans delivered his solo shot in the second, the Thundering Herd pushed it to 3-1 by way of a Dave Valle RBI groundout in the third.

And it would be Sweat and Marshall lefty Mike Mason dealing through the middle innings. The UCF senior kept the Herd scoreless from the fourth to the seventh before exiting, including striking out three-straight at one point. For Mason, he retired 15 of 16 batters following Romans' leadoff dinger in the second.

But Brown ended that stretch when he kicked off the seventh with a double off the center-field wall. Romans then drew a walk and freshman Beau Taylor could have bunted them over but the coaches let him swing away. The move worked as he dropped a single into left to load the bases with no outs for Vazquez. Marshall decided to go to the pen for Arik Sikula, who promptly hit Vazquez on the first pitch.

Now trailing 3-2 and the bases still jammed, southpaw Ryan Kiel entered to face fellow lefty Duffy and he made him pay, lining a hard two-run single just under the glove of first baseman Victor Gomez. Following a walk to freshman D.J. Hicks, classmate Alex Friedrich cranked the first pitch he saw to left where Rhett Stafford had to make a leaping play for the out. Yet Vazquez was still able to score, and the Black and Gold added one more when Duffy touched home on a wild pitch in an inning that saw UCF plate five runs while batting around.

The Thundering Herd was poised at returning the favor in the eighth when sophomore Brennan Dobbins stepped in from the pen. Back-to-back one-out singles brought the tying run to the dish in a 6-3 ballgame, where Stafford popped a 1-2 pitch foul down the first-base line and it appeared to just be a routine foul ball. But from the moment it left the bat, Vazquez sprinted over from his first-base position, laid out and made a diving snag on the warning track. Thanks to his spectacular catch, Dobbins rode the momentum and struck out Thor Meeks to end the threat.

As the saying goes, after a player makes a great catch in the field, he comes up the next inning with a big hit. That was exactly what happened in the home half of the eighth when Vazquez took Tyler Gatrell deep to left to stretch the UCF advantage to 7-3.

Marshall once again, though, struck in the late innings when there was one out in the top of the ninth. A total of five-consecutive batters posted a base hit and was on its way to tying the game with four runs. While the game may have been extended, it simply just set up the dramatics in the 11th.

UCF will resume its five-game homestand when it hosts Florida International Tuesday and Stetson Wednesday. Both games are slated for 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
Marshall - 19-27 Overall, 8-13 Conference USA
UCF - 17-29 Overall, 6-12 Conference USA
WP: Jordan Rasinski (2-0), 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB 2 K
LP: Austin Coan (3-5), 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
- The Knights drew over 1,100 fans for each game of the series vs. Marshall, and welcomed 3,568 fans overall. That ranked as the eighth-largest attended series in program history. So far this year, UCF has witnessed three of the top 10 series enter the gates of Jay Bergman Field. The all-time record was set when 5,582 Knight supporters filled the park for the 2009 opening series vs. Virginia Commonwealth.
- Catcher Beau Taylor threw out runner No. 19 on Sunday to continue to pace Conference USA. He also removed another runner on the bases who was trying to advance on a wild pitch.
- Shane Brown registered his 19th double of the year in the seventh inning. He needs one more to enter the top 10 on UCF's single-season chart. Brown now has had a two-bagger in five of his last six contests, and his overall hitting streak jumped to nine games.
- Starting pitcher Kyle Sweat walked just one batter Sunday, giving him only three walks in his last three starts - a total of 19.0 innings.
- Kiko Vazquez was hit by a pitch for the 20th time this season, which already stands as a UCF record, while it was HBP No. 47 for his career. That trails Ryan Bono's all-time record of 50 set from 2003-06.