Tulane Tops UCF Baseball in Game Two


April 9, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Tulane
April 9, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.
Team R H E
Tulane 6 7 0
UCF 5 13 0

WP: Garner (1-0), 2.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
LP: Cicio (1-1), 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
SV: Napoli (1), 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Game-Changing Moment
UCF loaded the bases in the eighth inning with one out, and then had runners at second and third with one out in the ninth and did not score both times.

Three Stars
First: Tulane's bullpen, 3.0 IP, 1 R, escaped 8th and 9th inning jams
Second: UCF RF Erik Hempe, 3-for-4, R
Third: TLN 2B Brennan Middleton, 2-for-4, 2 R, HR

Sunday Preview in PDF Format

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF suffered a 6-5 loss at home in game two to Tulane Saturday. Combined with its late win Friday, Tulane (20-11, 3-5) guaranteed itself of the series victory as the Knights fell to 20-11 on the year and 2-6 in Conference USA.

UCF was tied with Tulane entering the eighth inning, but the Green Wave plated one in the top half and the Knights failed to score in the bottom half of the inning when they loaded the bases with one out. In the ninth, Tulane added one more to make it 6-4 and although UCF cut it to 6-5 and had runners at second and third with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Green Wave escaped again.

"The last two days we have put ourselves in position to win. And I told our guys after the game that someone has to rise up," said head coach Terry Rooney. "Somebody has to step up and throw this team on their shoulders."

Trying to become the first UCF player to start a season 6-0 on the mound since Ray Rodriguez in 2005, freshman Ben Lively (5-0) would not earn a decision after going 6.0 innings with eight strikeouts and four runs on five hits and three walks. Lively has now worked at least 5.0 innings in all seven starts this season.

UCF would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the second, only to have the umpires remove the run from the scoreboard. With a man on first and two outs, Derek Luciano grounded a double down the right-field line and the home-plate umpire ruled fair ball. But the first-base ump signaled foul ball. The play continued and Erik Hempe came all the way from first to score, however the men in blue got together and ruled that since a foul ball was called by one umpire the play did not count.

With momentum taken from its grasp, UCF could not keep Tulane off the board in the third when it collected three-straight two-out singles to grab a 2-0 lead. Eventually in the fifth, immediately after two of the Green Wave coaches were ejected including head coach Rick Jones for the second-straight game, Jeremy Schaffer delivered a solo homer to left to make it 3-0.

Looking for a comeback, the Knights cut into their deficit with two swings in the fifth and sixth innings as Luciano hammered a solo homer to the right-field deck in the fifth and Jonathan Griffin punished his sixth of the year to left in the sixth.

However Lively's last batter he would face came in the seventh when Brennan Middleton led off the frame with a solo shot to left to make it 4-2.

Trailing again by two, UCF finally made Tulane starter Drew Zizinia hit the bench in the bottom of the seventh where it loaded the bases with no outs. A fielder's choice off the bat of Darnell Sweeney cut it to 4-3 and a RBI single from Ronnie Richardson made it a new ballgame at 4-4.

But that changed immediately in Tulane's next trip to the plate where Quinn Pippin's RBI groundout returned the lead to the Green Wave in the eighth. When the Knights entered the batter's box in the home half of the eighth, they loaded the bases with one out yet Luciano grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The visitors added a two-out run on a wild pitch from D.J. Hicks in the ninth and that proved to be costly. In the bottom of the ninth, Travis Shreve singled and Richardson was plunked with one out. Hicks tried to redeem himself when he crushed a RBI double to right and all of a sudden the Knights were trailing 6-5 with the tying run at third and the winning run at second with one down. However Chris Taladay grounded into a fielder's choice where Richardson was tagged out at the plate, and following an intentional walk to Griffin, Beau Taylor flied out to left to strand all three runners.

The three-game series with the Green Wave will wrap up Sunday with first pitch set for noon.

Game Notes
Tulane - 20-11 Overall, 3-5 C-USA
UCF - 20-11 Overall, 2-6 C-USA
-The road team has now won the series in each of the last three seasons.
-Erik Hempe continued to produce hits Saturday, going 3-for-4 to raise his average to .333.
-Ronnie Richardson stole his 10th base of the year and went 2-for-4 at the dish.
-With another long ball Saturday, Jonathan Griffin tied D.J. Hicks for the team lead with six homers in 2011.