UCF's Relentless Offensive Attack Defeats Memphis


May 25, 2011

Final Stats

UCF vs. Memphis
May 25, 2011
From Pearl, Miss.
Team R H E
No. 5 Memphis 9 17 2
No. 4 UCF 16 16 0

WP: Sedlock (3-0), 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
LP: Wills (2-1), 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
SV: None

Game-Changing Moment
UCF was able to break a 9-9 tie on a Ronnie Richardson RBI single in the fifth. But it was a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer out of Erik Hempe that proved the Knights' offense would not quit. That made it 12-9, and they added four more in the seventh to seal the victory.

Three Stars
First: UCF 1B Jonathan Griffin, 3-for-4, 3 RBI, 4 R, HR, 2B
Second: UCF RF Erik Hempe, 2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 R, HR
Third: UCF RP Johnny Sedlock, WP, 4.2 IP, 1 R, 3 K

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

PEARL, Miss. (UCFAthletics.com) - No. 4 seed UCF scored its most runs in a postseason game since 2001 in a 16-9 victory over No. 5 Memphis in game one of the Conference USA Championship presented by Trustmark Wednesday in Pearl, Miss. The Knights (37-20 overall) moved to 1-0 in pool play and will rumble with No. 8 UAB Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.

"Memphis has an outstanding offense, and I told our guys that it was like a pendulum where it kept going back and forth. But the most important thing was that we were on the positive end of it," said Rooney, whose team is 8-1 in its last nine games. "We responded very well in the 9 a.m. game to put up 16 runs. Tomorrow we face an outstanding UAB team and they have a tremendous pitching staff so we will have to be at our best."

The Knights collected 16 hits and left only five runners on base. Ronnie Richardson, Jonathan Griffin and Derek Luciano each had three hits against the Tigers (29-26), while Griffin and Erik Hempe both went yard. It was Griffin's 17th of the year which tied him for third on the UCF single-season home run chart (the record is 21 set by Chris Duffy last year). He also scored four runs out of the cleanup spot. Griffin joined Hempe and Ryan Breen who all had three RBI on the morning.

UCF held a 9-3 lead through four innings until Memphis drew even with six in the fifth. Johnny Sedlock got the final out of that fifth inning and went on to give up just one run in the final 4.2 innings to improve to 3-0 on the year.

It was a very long top of the first for sophomore lefty Brian Adkins who gave up a soft single to Chad Zurcher and walked two more to load the bases with one out. After getting a quick strikeout of Phillip Chapman, Adkins fell behind 3-0 to Eli Hynes. With nowhere to put the designated hitter, the southpaw battled back to get the strikeout, leaving the bases full.

Making his first start of the season, Memphis righty Tyler Farley then took the hill in the bottom of the first and plunked leadoff man Richardson and balked him over to second. Beau Taylor took advantage of the situation by lining a two-strike single into center, easily permitting the center fielder to score the tournament's first run. Farley added in a wild pitch and with two down, Luciano smacked a RBI single to right.

The 2-0 lead was short-lived, though. Two-straight singles to start the second led to Memphis plating two runs on a single from Drew Martinez. And in the third, the Tigers earned three more singles to begin the inning but could only score one run on a sacrifice fly from Robby Graham.

With Adkins surviving with just one run against, the UCF bats returned in a big way in the home half of the third. Filling the bags on one-out singles by Griffin and Luciano as well as a free pass issued to Hempe, Breen punished a ball into the right-field corner for his first-career triple. The three-run delivery made it 5-3, only Travis Shreve was able to cap off the four-run frame with a RBI groundout.

And the Knights returned with the same situation in the fourth. With teammates cluttering the bases and just one out, Luciano came through with a sac fly to score Richardson before Hempe dropped a RBI single into right. Hicks touched home from second on the hit and some trouble in the outfield enabled Griffin to briskly race around from first to make it 9-3.

Only the Tigers' strong offense was able to erase their deficit immediately in the fifth when Chapman sent a two-run homer to left. Ray Hanson would take over with no outs and after loading the bases, Memphis cashed in with three more runs. Now with the score at 9-8, the Knights' defense botched a rundown that allowed the tying run to score.

The six-run fifth by Memphis made it a brand new ballgame as the two teams had already played over two hours at the halfway point.

Having lost momentum, UCF recaptured it in the bottom of the fifth on a leadoff double by Shreve and a two-strike RBI single off the bat of Richardson. When Sedlock put up a zero in the sixth, the Black and Gold understood that it could not rest on a 10-9 advantage. So when it dug in for its next at-bat, Griffin hammered a ground-rule double into the left-center gap with one out. Two batters later, Hempe found himself in a two-strike, two-out situation yet still pulled a two-run shot that found a home in the left-field parking lot. It was his seventh long ball of 2011.

The long balls continued in the seventh. Following a sacrifice fly by D.J. Hicks with the bases juiced, Griffin worked the count to 3-0 and got the green light. Simply enough the decision to swing was the right one as the first baseman annihilated the next pitch, placing it on top of the berm to the left of center for a three-run job.

With a 16-9 cushion, Sedlock had no trouble closing it out to wrap up the first game of the week.

UCF resumes pool play in the C-USA Championship when it clashes with No. 8 seed UAB Thursday at 10 a.m. ET, and will also take on No. 1 Rice Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Game Notes
No. 5 Memphis - 29-26 Overall
No. 4 UCF - 37-20 Overall
-UCF moved to 2-6 all-time in the C-USA Championship.
-The Knights last scored at least 16 runs in a postseason game on May 16, 2001, in an 18-1 victory over Troy in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
-UCF's previous record for runs in a C-USA tournament game was six.
-Junior Beau Taylor extended his hitting streak to 13 games, tying him with D.J. Hicks for the longest streak by a Knight this year.
-Johnny Sedlock had given up just one walk in 25.0 innings, but surrendered two free passes Wednesday.
-The 16 runs scored were the most in a game by UCF in the all-time series against Memphis.
-It was the highest-scoring opening game in the 16-year history of the C-USA Championship.
-Ronnie Richardson was hit by a pitch for the 19th time this year, which ranks third on the single-season chart. The record is 22 by Shane Brown in 2010.
-The Knights did not commit an error, and have just one error in the previous 12 games combined.