UCF Pulls Out 6-4 Victory in Opener with Houston


April 29, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Houston
April 29, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.
Team R H E
Houston 4 13 1
UCF 6 10 1

WP: Adkins (6-2), 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
LP: Wiley (2-3), 5.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
SV: Rogers (7), 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Game-Changing Moment
Houston could have broken the game open by loading the bases in the second after already scoring one run. But Brian Adkins induced Caleb Ramsey to ground out to end the threat, and Derek Luciano would hit a two-run homer in the bottom half and the Knights put it away with three in the fifth.

Three Stars
First: UCF 2B Travis Shreve, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, SB
Second: UCF RP Ben Lively, Joe Rogers, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K
Third: UCF LF Chris Taladay, 2-for-3, RBI, R, SF, 2B

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By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Derek Luciano delivered a two-run homer in the second and UCF scored three times in the fifth to take the lead for good in a 6-4 win over Houston Friday in Orlando. The Knights have now won five of their last six games, boosting their record to 27-15 on the year and 7-9 in Conference USA thanks to the victory.

Sophomore lefty Brian Adkins locked down the win to improve to 6-2 on the year, going 6.0 innings with three earned runs allowed. The Orlando native now has the most victories by a UCF pitcher since 2005 when that season the Knights had three different hurlers collect at least six wins.

To preserve Adkins' win, freshman Ben Lively tossed 1.2 scoreless frames and sophomore Joe Rogers worked the final 1.1 innings to secure his seventh save, which ties for ninth on the UCF single-season chart. Rogers now has 15 saves in just two seasons in a Black and Gold uniform (which ranks fourth on the all-time list).

"I'm starting to get comfortable (as the Friday starter), and I think this team is getting ready to take off," said Adkins. "Last week was huge because it was a momentum builder. It got us on a roll since we were trying to turn those midweek wins into conference wins."

UCF rapped out 10 hits and left six on base while Houston (20-23, 7-6) had 13 hits but left 10 aboard. Luciano's homer was his fifth of the season and erased an early 1-0 deficit.

"I thought we battled throughout the entire game against a very good Houston club," said head coach Terry Rooney. "Brian didn't have his best stuff today, but at the end of the day the job of the starting pitcher is to give your team a chance to win and I feel like he did that."

Houston opened the evening by taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single from Landon Appling, yet Adkins managed to escape with just the one by leaving the bases loaded. That proved to be a huge moment since the Knights grabbed the lead in the home half of the second on Luciano's two-run blast to right off righty Mo Wiley.

However the Black and Gold was unable to keep the one-run advantage, as the Cougars plated two more two-out runs in the fourth on three extra-base hits.

Trailing 3-2, UCF responded in the fifth by loading the bases with nobody out on singles from Travis Shreve and Darnell Sweeney along with a free pass to Beau Taylor. With one away, D.J. Hicks produced a run on a fielder's choice with the Cougars committing an error on the play, and Jonathan Griffin drove in Taylor with a hard single to left. Capping off the inning, Chris Taladay successfully lifted a fly ball to deep left, allowing Sweeney to score on the sac fly.

Each team would trade runs in the sixth, with Houston scoring off an error in the inning, and UCF moving ahead 6-4 on back-to-back doubles from Shreve and Taylor.

Entering the final three innings, it came down to the bullpens, and Lively and Rogers combined for 3.0 shutout innings with only two hits against and one strikeout to shut the door on the Cougars. UH had a chance to inch closer in the ninth when Caleb Ramsey led off with a double. He would be stranded at third with one out, though, thanks to some nifty glove work by Rogers, who snagged a hard line drive off the bat of Matt Creel to get the second out, and forced Codey Morehouse to fly out to center to send the home fans happy.

The two clubs will resume their series with game two Saturday at 4 p.m., and it will be Military Appreciation Night with all military members with ID (active or veterans) receiving free admission. Members of the Wounded Warrior Project, SSG William Castillo and SGT Noé Santos Diloné, will be throwing out the first pitch.

Game Notes
Houston - 20-23 Overall, 7-6 C-USA
UCF - 27-15 Overall, 7-9 C-USA
-Brian Adkins has lasted at least 6.0 innings in eight-straight starts.
-Darnell Sweeney, Chris Taladay and Travis Shreve each notched two hits.
-Shreve scored two runs Friday, and stole his 21st base of the year.