Hanson Goes the Distance, Griffin Homers in 2-1 UC

March 13, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Wagner
March 13, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.

WP: Hanson (1-0), 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
LP: Hering (0-2), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
Going into the top of the ninth ahead just 2-1, Ray Hanson could have started to tire out. But with one pitch, Ian Miller lined out to Darnell Sweeney at short and it was clear Hanson was going to easily hold on for the complete-game win. He finished off the ninth by getting Joe Conforti to groundout to first and struck out Seth Boyd as he looked at an outside fastball to wrap it up.

Three Stars
First: UCF SP Ray Hanson, WP, CG, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K
Second: UCF 1B Jonathan Griffin, GW 2-run HR in 2nd
Third: WAG SP Dale Hering, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 K

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Earlier in the week, junior righty Ray Hanson pitched 7.0 scoreless innings vs. Mount St. Mary's March 8 but did not get a decision. On Sunday, he was at it again only this time he grabbed the win as UCF (13-3) slipped past Wagner, 2-1, to sweep the weekend series against the Seahawks (1-10).

Hanson (1-0) went the full 9.0 innings for the complete-game victory, allowing one run on six hits, no walks and striking out four. That came a day after Ben Lively registered a complete-game win as he defeated Wagner, 5-1, Saturday. Lively's was the first nine-inning complete game by a UCF pitcher since 2008.

The last time the Knights had two pitchers throw back-to-back complete games was Mitch Houck and Tim Bascom in 2006.

Along with Friday pitchers Danny Winkler, Nick Cicio and Ronnie Richardson as well as Lively, Hanson was part of a pitching staff that struck out 31 Wagner hitters without issuing a walk all weekend.

"The first inning was a little shaky and I gave up the run early but I knew we were a good-hitting team and it was a matter of time before we put up a run. We ended up getting two and that was all we needed," said Hanson. "I feel like keeping the defense in the game is a big part of pitching. If you go out there and strike everyone out your defense can be flat sometimes, so you just go out there, pound the zone, get some groundballs for the defense and let them work."

Hanson faced five batters in the first, four in the second and the minimum three batters in the final seven innings vs. Wagner. He was aided by two double-play balls in the fifth and seventh, and went to a three-ball count on only three of the 30 batters he took on. Catcher Beau Taylor also helped his cause by throwing out a runner trying to steal second and picking off another at first base.

"Ray Hanson was fantastic and he was going on short rest. So that makes it even better the way he was able to come back after a quick turnaround," said head coach Terry Rooney. "I think the big key to his success is just getting ahead of virtually every single batter. And he was staying down in the zone with his fastball. His fastball command was tremendous."

Jonathan Griffin proved to be the difference at the plate, smashing a two-run job over the wall in the second inning. It was his third home run of the year.

With only a combined three runs and six hits between the two teams (Wagner led in hits 6-3), final game time was only 1:58. The last nine-inning contest to finish in under two hours was April 16, 2004, when Matt Fox, who currently has a 1.80 ERA in Spring Training for the Boston Red Sox, defeated Belmont 3-0 on a two-hitter.

For the second-straight day, Wagner struck in the first inning with a RBI single by Kevin McDonnell. Yet that 1-0 lead was erased in the second when Beau Taylor singled off Dale Hering and Griffin launched a two-run blast over the left-center wall.

Little did both teams realize, that homer would be the last run of the game.

UCF attempted to stretch its lead in the third, placing runners at second and third with one down only it came up empty due to a pair of defensive plays by Wagner and it remained 2-1.

Hering and reliever David Rees were giving the Seahawks a chance to stay in it by sitting down 11-straight Knights from the fourth to the eighth innings. Hering completed his start with 6.0 innings, three hits, two runs, three walks and two strikeouts, while Rees did not surrender a hit in the final two innings.

Hanson, though, matched Wagner's pitching combination step for step, and would not allow a Seahawk to step on second base in the final eight innings of his outing.

UCF's homestand continues Tuesday when it welcomes in-state rival South Florida to town for a 6:30 p.m. rumble on Bright House Sports Network.

Game Notes
Wagner - 1-10 Overall
UCF - 13-3 Overall
-D.J. Hicks witnessed his 13-game hitting streak come to an end Sunday.
-UCF was held to a season-low three hits in the win. It also was the fewest hits in a game by the Knights since April 22, 2007, when they had one at Rice.
-The last time UCF won a game with three hits or less was when it had three against Gardner-Webb March 13, 2004, and still pulled out a 2-0 victory.
-The pitching staff has had three-straight games without issuing a walk. It has not given up a free pass in seven games this season.
-Travis Shreve stole two more bases Sunday to give him 15 on the year.