Taylor, Griffin Homer in the Ninth for a 5-3 Win at UAB


May 13, 2011

Final Stats

May 13, 2011
From Birmingham, Ala.
Team R H E
UCF 5 11 0
UAB 3 11 1

WP: Rogers (4-2), 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
LP: Huddleston (1-5), 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
UAB may have tied it at 3-3 with a run in the eighth, but a first-pitch leadoff home run by Beau Taylor in the ninth followed by a one-out blast from Jonathan Griffin gave UCF the 5-3 lead. And Joe Rogers pitched a scoreless ninth, stranding two runners in scoring position to get the win.

Three Stars
First: UCF SP Brian Adkins, ND, 6.2 IP, 2 R, 4 K
Second: UCF C Beau Taylor, GW HR in 9th
Third: UCF 1B Jonathan Griffin, Solo HR in 9th

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UCFAthletics.com) - After escaping the rain that drenched Birmingham earlier in the day, UCF used solo home runs by Beau Taylor and Jonathan Griffin to break a 3-3 tie in the ninth for a 5-3 win at UAB (27-23, 9-13) Friday. The series-opening victory pushed the Knights' record to 31-19 on the year and 8-11 in Conference USA.

Sophomore lefty Brian Adkins gave UCF another quality start only did not get a decision as he stayed at 6-3 on the year. He lasted 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits, striking out four (all four strikeouts were in succession in the fifth/sixth innings). It was Adkins' 10th-straight start of at least 6.0 innings.

"I was just trying to keep the ball down and let the defense play behind me," said Adkins. "I don't feel like I had my best stuff but I competed with what I had and luckily it was enough for the win. We knew coming in this was a huge series for us. You always want to get the victory on Friday and then try to carry that over into Saturday."

In the field, UCF did not commit an error for the fifth-consecutive game, and has played errorless ball in 50.2-straight innings dating back to May 3 at South Florida (there is no official school record for the longest stretch without an error due to old box scores being unavailable).

Taylor's home run was his fourth of the season and 15th of his three-year career. Following his blast in the ninth, Griffin went yard for the 14th time in 2011, which ranks in a tie for seventh on the UCF single-season chart. Griffin also took over sole possession of eighth on the Knights' career list with 27 jacks in only two years since joining UCF as a junior in 2010.

The sun finally broke through the clouds before first pitch, and UCF quickly put together a scoring opportunity against righty Dillon Napoleon who entered Friday with a 2.58 ERA but was on a pitch count after missing the previous two weekends with an injury. An error put Taylor aboard and D.J. Hicks singled to right to place runners at the corners with one out, however Napoleon escaped with an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

With the Knights unable to grab the early lead, Adkins gave up a run in the home half on a two-out, two-strike, opposite-field RBI single from Patrick Palmeiro. UCF attempted to even it up in the second inning, and again could not score with two men on base. UAB would then double its advantage with another two-out base hit in the bottom of the second, earning a RBI double out of Ivan De Jesus.

The Black and Gold continued to produce scoring chances in the third when Ronnie Richardson led off with a first-pitch single, touched second on a wild pitch and traveled to third on a groundout to the right side from Taylor. Searching for his 50th RBI on the year, Hicks got it with a base hit into left-center to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Following a 1-2-3 inning by Adkins, Erik Hempe was plunked to start the fourth, Ryan Breen singled and Travis Shreve laid down the sacrifice bunt to place two in scoring position with one down. Eventually with two outs, Richardson legged out an infield single to second base, tying things up at two apiece.

That tie was in jeopardy in the bottom of the fourth yet Adkins managed to keep it at 2-2 by stranding runners at second and third with one away. An inning later, Adkins walked the leadoff batter before striking out the next three Blazers. With the southpaw controlling the mound, the offense used a one-out single by Breen en route to taking its first lead in the sixth as the left fielder moved around the bases on a wild pitch, groundout and two-strike, two-out RBI single to left by Darnell Sweeney.

Adkins preserved the lead in the sixth but gave up a two-out double to Jamal Austin in the seventh. The signal was made to the pen and closer Joe Rogers promptly struck out Palmeiro on three pitches to get out of the inning. However the sophomore left-hander could not hold on to the one-run advantage in the eighth, surrendering a leadoff double to Andrew Manning and he later scored on a sacrifice fly.

A whole new ballgame going into the ninth, UCF did not panic, and all it took was two swings. Actually, it took only one pitch to give the Knights the lead for good as Taylor hammered the first pitch of the ninth over the right-center wall. Adding some insurance, Griffin wanted to put one on I-65, sending a one-out solo blast to left-center. With a two-run lead, Rogers breathed a sigh of relief in the bottom of the ninth to get the win. With runners at second and third and two outs, he forced Palmeiro to ground a 2-2 pitch down the first-base line and Rogers sprinted in, snagged it and tagged the third baseman for the final out of the evening.

The three-game series resumes Saturday with first pitch set for 3 p.m. ET, and the finale is scheduled for Sunday at 12 p.m. ET.

Game Notes
UCF - 31-19 Overall, 8-11 C-USA
UAB - 27-23 Overall, 9-13 C-USA
-D.J. Hicks extended his hitting streak in C-USA contests to eight games by going 2-for-5.
-Hicks, Ronnie Richardson and Ryan Breen each had two hits.
-Richardson was hit by a pitch for the 16th time Friday, which ranks in a tie for fifth on the UCF single-season record chart.
-Joe Rogers finished his outing by striking out three in 2.1 innings, moving his record to 4-2.
-Both teams left 10 runners on base, and had 11 hits.
-UCF has now won the series opener against UAB five times in the last six seasons since joining C-USA in 2006. But the Knights have just two series victories over the Blazers, and will look to make that three with a win either Saturday or Sunday.