Knights Lose Rubber Match to Memphis in Extra Innings


May 2, 2010

Final Stats

UCF vs. Memphis
May 2, 2010
From Orlando, Fla.
Team R H E
Memphis 9 19 2
UCF 8 14 0

WP: Paullus (1-1), 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
LP: Brown (2-2), 0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
With UCF grabbing momentum with four runs in the bottom of the ninth, Memphis responded immediately in the 10th and stole it away when Jacob Wilson singled in Chad Zurcher. That would put the Tigers up for good as they held on to keep the Knights off the board in the bottom of the 10th.

Three Stars
First Star: MEM 1B Heath Hatfield, 3-for-5, 4 RBI, R, 3B, HR
Second Star: MEM RP Ben Paullus, WP, got the final 6 outs without allowing a run
Third Star: UCF CF Ronnie Richardson, 3-for-6, 2 RBI, R, 2-run HR in the 9th

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings only to see Memphis plate one in the 10th for the 9-8 victory Sunday. That gave the Tigers (22-22, 10-8 Conference USA) the series win over the Knights, which fell to 27-19 on the season and 7-11 in C-USA.

The Black and Gold came close to winning it in the ninth, but was unable to convert its opportunity after having the winning run at second with one out, as well as at third with two down. It also had two runners aboard in the 10th and could not deliver the clutch hit.

UCF's top three hitters in the lineup, Shane Brown, Darnell Sweeney and Ronnie Richardson, combined to go 9-for-17 with three RBI and five runs. With three hits, Brown pushed his season total to 75, setting a career-high. He also banged out his 55th career double to move into a tie for second on the UCF all-time list.

Also at the dish for the Knights, Beau Taylor stretched his hitting streak to 12 games, while Jonathan Griffin (eighth) and Richardson (third) each sent balls over the fence.

The Tigers went ahead 1-0 when there were two outs in the second against lefty Nick Cicio, but the Knights answered with a two-out hit of their own when Griffin doubled in Taylor in the bottom of the second. One inning later and they were handed two more runs with two away when second baseman Adam McClain booted a groundball with Chris Duffy at the plate to give UCF the 3-1 lead.

Cicio was unable to keep the two-run cushion, though, as Heath Hatfield cranked a two-strike pitch to left-center for a two-run homer in the fourth, and Derrick Thomas immediately followed him with his first-collegiate dinger to make it 4-3. And once again that lead did not hold up. On the first pitch from Ryan Holland in the fourth, Griffin put his eighth homer over West Plaza Drive and into the woods in left.

The scoring continued in the fifth where the Tigers put the first four on base in another three-run inning, then pushed it to 8-4 with a two-out run in the seventh.

UCF was unable to get on the board from innings 5-8, and still down 8-4 in the ninth, Brown led off against Chase Joiner with a double and quickly scored on a single from Sweeney. Richardson then dug in and fell behind until evening the count at 2-2. The smallest player on the UCF roster, Richardson took the next pitch and sent his second homer of the weekend over the left-field wall.

All of a sudden a one-run game with nobody out, Duffy drove a two-strike pitch that would have easily been a homer early in the year when the wind was blowing to right. But with the wind pushing fly balls to left field Sunday, Duffy's shot would bounce on the warning track and hop over the fence for a ground-rule double. Pinch-runner Alex Friedrich took over as the tying run at second, and Ryan Breen pushed him to third on a ground out to the right side. With the infield playing in, Taylor blasted another ground-rule double to the track in right, enabling his team to tie it at 8-8.

Now with the winning run at second, reliever Ben Paullus intentionally walked Griffin to get to Chris Taladay who moved the runners up a base on a groundout. Austin Johnston came out of the on-deck circle with the deciding run 90-feet away and two down, yet the freshman swung through a 3-2 breaking ball to send the game to extras.

While the Knights were able to make it a new game, not capitalizing with two outs to spare still kept the Tigers in the game. And when the top of the 10th inning rolled around, Jacob Wilson delivered a RBI single off Bryan Brown to retake the lead. Memphis would load the bases, however Brennan Dobbins was called from the pen and needed just two pitches to induce McClain to fly out to right.

Looking for another comeback, the Knights were able to get a pair of two-out singles on Paullus in the bottom of the 10th, but the righty got Breen to swing at a 1-2 inside pitch for the final out of the game.

The Knights will now venture to Florida Atlantic Tuesday before taking an extensive break. After the trip to Boca Raton, they will not be back on the field until a home tilt with Jacksonville May 11.

Single-game tickets are currently on sale for the 2010 season. To purchase tickets, call 407-823-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com. And for the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - 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 UCFPhotos.com and become a follower of the Knights on Twitter and Facebook.

Game Notes
Memphis - 22-22 Overall, 10-8 Conference USA
UCF - 27-19 Overall, 7-11 Conference USA
-Memphis did not have a stolen base Sunday as catcher Beau Taylor threw out both would-be basestealers.
-With 14 hits, the Knights have amassed at least 14 hits in 17 games this season.
-Ronnie Richardson and Jonathan Griffin each went .417 at the plate in the series, while Richardson had two homers and seven RBI.
-On the mound, Matt Manning worked in two of the games including Sunday, and did not allow a hit while striking out five in 2.0 innings over the weekend.