UCF Survives Exciting Evening with Marshall in 13-

May 20, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Marshall
May 20, 2011
From Orlando, Fla.

WP: Sedlock (2-0), 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
LP: Fernandez (2-3), 0.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
Falling behind 10-7 after the top of the eighth, Marshall reliever Joe Church walked leadoff man Erik Hempe on four pitches. In came Jesse Fernandez and a fielding error as well as a walk loaded them up. That set the stage for a huge six-run inning, highlighted by Ronnie Richardson's two-run double, Beau Taylor's RBI single and Jonathan Griffin's RBI double to put the game out of reach.

Three Stars
First: UCF C Beau Taylor, 3-for-5, 3 RBI, R
Second: UCF 2B Travis Shreve, 3-for-3, BB, 2 R, 2B, SB
Third: UCF RP Johnny Sedlock, WP, 1.1 perfect innings, 2 K

Saturday Preview in PDF Format

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Like two kids on an adventurous see-saw ride at the playground, UCF answered Marshall's four-run eighth with six runs in the bottom half to escape with a 13-10 victory over the Thundering Herd (20-30, 7-16) Friday. The evening featured six lead changes before the Knights took control late, improving their record to 35-20 on the year and 11-12 in Conference USA.

The 11 C-USA victories are the most by the Knights since they joined the league in 2006, while the 13 runs were the most against Marshall dating back to the two teams' very first meeting in 2006 (UCF won 18-1).

"Tonight was a tremendous team win. There was an unbelievable amount of determination from our players," said head coach Terry Rooney. "We talked last night that we needed to come out with a little more determination today, and they responded, especially in the way we won because it was back and forth all night against an outstanding Marshall team. Our guys willed it together in a huge win that will hopefully solidify our postseason opportunity."

The Knights outhit the Herd, 14-10, with Beau Tayor going 3-for-5 with three RBI to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, and Travis Shreve sporting a perfect 3-for-3 mark with two runs. Darnell Sweeney, meanwhile, finished 2-for-3 with three runs, and Jonathan Griffin banged out a pair of doubles. Going yard, Erik Hempe delivered his sixth of the year in the sixth inning.

In game one of the series, the Knights did not get the leadoff man on base all night Thursday. However in game two, that changed immediately when Ronnie Richardson drew a leadoff walk in the first inning from lefty Mike Mason. Following a wild pitch and groundout that pushed the center fielder to third, Richardson scurried home on another wild pitch.

The 1-0 lead was quickly erased in the second as UCF righty Danny Winkler loaded the bases with no outs and the Thundering Herd went ahead 2-1 on a passed ball and RBI groundout.

Although the Knights put two on the board in the third on RBI hits from Darnell Sweeney and Taylor, Marshall responded again with three two-out runs in the fourth to jump out to a 5-3 lead.

With UCF still trailing by two in the bottom of the fifth, the home team attempted to rally on a leadoff double to center off the bat of Shreve and a bunt single laid down by Sweeney. Although a bunt by Richardson resulted in an out at home, Taylor came through by lining a 3-2 pitch from Mason into right-center to drive in Sweeney. With the deficit cut in half, D.J. Hicks drove in his league-leading 58th run on a groundout to first and as Richardson touched home, the game was all tied up.

Winkler was relieved after the fifth, and he completed his outing with nine strikeouts in 5.0 innings. It was his sixth-straight outing with at least five innings of work. One inning after reliever Nick Cicio pitched a hitless sixth, Hempe provided UCF with its third lead of the night, sending a solo homer into the blossoming palm trees in left in the home half for a 6-5 advantage. But the scoring trend continued in the seventh with a two-out RBI infield single by Marshall's Victor Gomez.

Knotted up at 6-6, the roller coaster ride took another turn in the bottom of the seventh. With Hicks on first thanks to being hit by a pitch, Griffin worked the count to 2-2 until sending a double down the left-field line. With left fielder Nathan Gomez playing close to the gap, Hicks had little trouble circling the bases to put the Knights on top.

Only that one-run margin lasted just a couple of minutes. Joe Rogers stepped in from the bullpen to start the eighth and with the bases loaded and one out, the Herd tied it at 7-7 on an infield single and went up 8-7 on a passed ball. To cap off the four-run eighth, Rhett Stafford sent a two-out, two-run single to left that was barely out of the reach of a diving Ryan Breen.

With Marshall now in possession of the game's biggest lead at 10-7, the Black and Gold used a leadoff walk to Hempe, a single with Breen at the dish and a hard-earned walk from Shreve to load them up with no outs. Facing Jesse Fernandez, Sweeney stepped into the box only the righty watched as catcher Thor Meeks committed a passed ball to let Hempe score. And on the first pitch he saw, Richardson made it a brand new ballgame by firing a two-run double into the left-field corner.

As Sweeney stood at third and Richardson celebrated at second in a 10-10 game, southpaw Greg Williams was called upon for the Herd. And he promptly put himself into the box score by bouncing one to the backstop to give the Knights yet another lead. The inning was far from over, though, as Taylor drilled a RBI single to left and Griffin punished a RBI double into center.

With a six-run inning turning the tables on Marshall's three-run cushion, Johnny Sedlock, who got the last out in the top of the eighth, breezed through the ninth for the victory. The lefty lowered his ERA to 2.16, bumped his record up to 2-0, and now has 24 strikeouts and only one walk in 25.0 innings this season.

The regular season comes to a close Saturday with Senior Day as 10 Knights will be honored prior to first pitch at noon.

Game Notes
Marshall - 20-30 Overall, 7-16 C-USA
UCF - 35-20 Overall, 11-12 C-USA
-Congratulations to UCF equipment manager Ryan McPhail, who proposed to his girlfriend Beverly Powell at the end of the second inning Friday. And of course, she said "Yes!"
-UCF moved its record to 2-0 in the last five years when there was a marriage proposal at the field.
-The game started an hour late due to a weather delay.
-D.J. Hicks entered with an on-base percentage of .436, but was hit by a pitch for the first time all season Friday.
-At 3:38, it was the second-longest game of the year (3:48 at Florida State May 7).
-Leadoff hitter Ronnie Richardson scored three runs and drove in two crucial runs in the eighth.
-The Knights left only five runners on base Friday.