Bullpen Gives Up Late Lead in UCF's Loss at Memphis


April 24, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Memphis
April 24, 2011
From Memphis, Tenn.
Team R H E
UCF 7 10 2
Memphis 12 14 0

WP: Moll (3-1), 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
LP: Rogers (2-2), 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
Cruising with a 6-3 advantage in the bottom of the seventh, UCF gave up four runs to the Tigers, capped off by a three-run blast by Jacob Wilson, to give Memphis the lead for good.

Three Stars
First: MEM 3B Jacob Wilson, 3-for-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Second: MEM 1B T.J. Rich, 2-for-5, 3 RBI
Third: MEM SS Chad Zurcher, 3-for-4, 4 R, 1 RBI

By Brian Ormiston

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - Looking for its first sweep of Memphis in school history, UCF could not hang on to a 6-3 lead in the seventh inning in a 12-7 loss Sunday. The Knights, who finished the week with a 4-1 record, fell to 26-15 overall and 6-9 in Conference USA while the Tigers improved to 24-17 and 7-5 as they won on a pair of three-run homers from Jacob Wilson in the seventh and eighth innings.

D.J. Hicks wrapped up a remarkable week on the diamond by going 2-for-3 Sunday with a home run, which was his 10th long ball of the year. In the five-game week, the sophomore designated hitter went 10-for-21 with three dingers and 13 RBI. Meanwhile, Beau Taylor closed the series with a pair of doubles and two RBI, and he posted a 9-for-17 mark for the week.

Also homering for the Black and Gold, senior Jonathan Griffin pounded out his 11th of the season, and it was the 24th of his two-year career to move him into a tie for 10th on UCF's all-time home run list with Sam Nattile.

With no one aboard, two outs and facing a 3-2 pitch in the top of the first, Hicks said hello to Memphis starter Clayton Gant with a solo shot over the center-field wall. However the Tigers wasted no time in responding, getting a RBI groundout from T.J. Rich in the home half off righty Danny Winkler to tie it up.

Following a quick second inning by both clubs, Travis Shreve touched first on a four-pitch walk to start the third and galloped all of the way around the bases on a RBI double by Taylor. Darnell Sweeney permitted Taylor to advance to third in the next at-bat with a grounder to the right-side, and the UCF catcher touched home thanks to a passed ball.

Holding a 3-1 lead, UCF gave up one in the bottom of the third, where a single, error and hit by pitch loaded them up with one down, and Rich had another RBI groundout. But on the play Shreve made a diving snag at second to only allow one runner to score. Memphis, though, chipped away again in the fifth, earning a two-out RBI single from Rich to even things up at 3-3.

When UCF picked up the bats for the sixth inning, it had just two hits even though it was crushing the ball all afternoon. Finally the hard work paid off as balls started dropping for hits in the sixth. After a one-out opposite field two-strike single by Hicks, Griffin found the parking lot in left, clubbing a two-run shot to make it 5-3.

Watching Chris Taladay and Erik Hempe hammer out singles after Griffin's blast, reliever Sam Moll jogged in from the bullpen and promptly forced Derek Luciano to ground into an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.

UCF tried for more again in the seventh, and succeeded as Taylor delivered an opposite-field double and Sweeney quickly brought him around with a single into center.

Ahead 6-3, Winkler would surrender groundball singles to begin the home half of the seventh, and UCF went to the pen for Joe Rogers. But the closer gave up a RBI groundball single to Chad Zurcher before Wilson connected for a three-run homer to give the Tigers their first lead of the afternoon.

One inning later and Memphis put the game away with a five-run eighth against four different UCF pitchers.

The Knights take the week off for finals before hosting Houston next weekend with game one scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. Game two Saturday marks Military Appreciation Night and first pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Game Notes
UCF - 26-15 Overall, 6-9 C-USA
Memphis - 24-17 Overall, 7-5 C-USA
-With D.J. Hicks hitting his 10th of the year Sunday, the Knights now have two players with double-digit homers (Jonathan Griffin has 11) this season.
-UCF has won two of three C-USA road series this season (took two of three at Rice and Memphis, lost two of three at East Carolina).
-The Knights entered the day ranked eighth in the country by allowing only 39 doubles this year, but gave up four to Memphis Sunday.