Three-Run Eighth Provides UCF Baseball With Series

Feb. 21, 2010

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UCF vs. Savannah State
Feb. 21, 2010
From Orlando, Fla.
Savannah State681

WP: Chase Bradford (1-0), 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Jason Wynn (0-1), 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
SV: Joe Rogers (1), 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Game-Changing Moment
-When Savannah State took a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning, the Knights were running out of at-bats, especially when Jason Wynn retired the first two batters. But one swing was all it took to completely shift momentum, as Beau Taylor launched a 1-1 offering over the right-field wall. That tied it up and set the stage for two-more two-out runs as UCF secured the sweep.

Three Stars
First Star: UCF C Beau Taylor, 1-for-3 with the game-tying homer with two outs in the eighth
Second Star: UCF PH Chris Taladay, 1-for-1 with the game-winning RBI single
Third Star: SSU LF Jonathan Ross, 2-for-3 with a double and a homer. And UCF 2B Austin Johnston, 2-for-4 also with a double and a homer

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

Orlando, Fla. ( - A late rally enabled the UCF baseball team to lock up the three-game sweep as it topped Savannah State, 8-6, Sunday in Orlando. Sophomore Beau Taylor (Rockledge, Fla.) tied it with a two-out homer in the eighth and freshman Chris Taladay (Windermere, Fla.) gave the Knights the lead for good later in the inning on a pinch-hit RBI single.

"It's a long season. We've still got 53 games left in the regular season, and we need to keep getting better in a lot of areas," said head coach Terry Rooney. "But what I'm proud of is the effort of these guys throughout the entire weekend. And to end a weekend series on that note was awesome. That shows that we have the ability to come back."

Taylor's home run ended a weekend where the cleanup hitter went 8-for-12 with two dingers and five RBI. One spot down in the lineup, Jonathan Griffin led all hitters with three hits and scored a pair of runs. Austin Johnston also shined with the aluminum, going 2-for-4 with a key home run in the seventh inning.

For the third-straight game, UCF (3-0) got on the board in the first inning vs. SSU (0-3), plating two runs off starter Mark Sherrod as Shane Brown and Griffin each picked up an RBI. Although Jonathan Ross cut the SSU deficit in half with a solo homer in the fourth against Nick Cicio, the Knights responded in the home half with an RBI single off the bat of Derek Luciano.

Unlike the first two outings of the series, though, the Tigers did not let the Knights take command. When the fifth inning rolled around, Cicio gave up two one-out walks, forcing UCF to go to the pen. Brennan Dobbins stepped in and issued a free pass to load the bases, while a wild pitch made it 3-2. A groundout to short from Dexter Kelley allowed the third run to score as the game reached the bottom of the fifth tied at 3-3.

Sherrod would then fall victim to location issues when UCF did return to the dish, walking the first two batters of the frame. He did earn two outs before walking Darnell Sweeney and Ronnie Richardson to hand the Black and Gold a 4-3 advantage.

Both teams continued to have scoring opportunities against the bullpens, and SSU seized control in the seventh vs. Chase Bradford, securing the first run of the stanza on a RBI single by Kelley and added two unearned runs for a 6-4 margin. Johnston attempted to bring UCF back into it in the bottom half, ripping a solo shot over the left-field wall for his first homer of the year.

However, the Knights still trailed and reliever Jason Wynn recorded the first two outs of the eighth. Now facing Taylor, Wynn went to 1-1 before the sophomore catcher took matters into his own hands, driving his second home run of the series well over the fence in right to make it 6-6.

UCF was far from satisfied, even though there were two outs. Griffin followed with a hard single up the middle, and after a pitching change, Chris Duffy was hit in the foot to give the Knights two runners. The coaches decided to go with a pinch-hitter as Taladay stepped in and the freshman pounced on the first pitch, sending it into center field to score Griffin. Duffy then pushed the lead to 8-6 by touching home plate on a wild pitch.

With two strikeouts in the ninth inning Saturday, freshman Joe Rogers returned to the mound for his first save opportunity Sunday. The southpaw opened the frame when James Lee looked at a called third strike on the inside corner. Ross did notch a double with one away, yet Rogers settled in and induced Kelley to pop up and struck out Matthew Nowacki for the save.

UCF will now embark on its first road game of the season when it heads to No. 7 Florida Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Season tickets for the 2010 campaign are currently on sale. To purchase tickets, call 407-823-1000 or visit And for the latest news on the Knights, log on to - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit and become a follow of the Knights on Twitter and Facebook.

Game Notes
Savannah State - 0-3 Overall
UCF - 3-0 Overall
-Shane Brown notched his 11th sacrifice fly of his career, tying for the fourth most in UCF history.
-Ronnie Richardson walked three more times Sunday, giving him seven walks with no strikeouts through three games.
-The attendance for the three-game set was 3,493, the ninth-highest attended series at UCF.
-Starting pitcher Nick Cicio completed his first outing as a Knight by working 4.1 innings with three strikeouts.
-The Knights will be back home next weekend to take on Siena to start a 13-game homestand.