UCF's First NCAA Regional Game Since 2004 Ends in 5-3 Loss


June 3, 2011

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UCF vs. Alabama
June 3, 2011
From Tallahassee, Fla.
Team R H E
Alabama 5 14 0
UCF 3 7 1

WP: Kilcrease (8-4), 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K
LP: Adkins (6-5), 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
SV: Smart (11), 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Game-Changing Moment
On the short end of a 2-0 ballgame in the bottom of the fourth, UCF loaded the bases with two outs and Alabama's Nathan Kilcrease walked Darnell Sweeney to cut the Knights' deficit in half. However the right-hander caught Ronnie Richardson looking at strike three on an 0-2 pitch to end the inning. The Tide would go on to add one run in each of the next three innings to get the win.

Three Stars
First: ALA SP Nathan Kilcrease, WP, 7.0 IP, 2 R, 10 K
Second: ALA 1B Austen Smith, 2-for-5, 2 RBI, HR
Third: ALA DH Josh Rosecrans, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B

By Brian Ormiston

Box Score in PDF Format

UCF Quotes in PDF Format

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Making its return to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2004, No. 2 seed UCF suffered a 5-3 loss to No. 3 Alabama Friday in Tallahassee. The Knights (38-22) will now take on either No. 1 Florida State or No. 4 Bethune-Cookman in an elimination game Saturday at noon.

Alabama (34-26) never had a big inning, but a single run in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings enabled the Crimson Tide to carry momentum throughout the game. And starting pitcher Nathan Kilcrease held the Knights to two runs on four hits, sitting down 10 on strikes in 7.0 innings.

"That certainly was an outstanding college baseball game from the beginning right to the very end. Their starting pitcher did a tremendous job and made some big pitches when he needed to," said head coach Terry Rooney. "I thought our guys battled all the way through. All you want in the last inning is to get the tying or winning run to the plate and we did. And that's been the hallmark of our team this year is that we battle to the very end."

Darnell Sweeney and Ronnie Richardson combined for four hits and the duo drove in UCF's three runs Friday. Richardson finished with two RBI including his second home run of the season in the seventh inning.

"I would say we didn't have jitters," said Richardson. "It was just another game and you've got to go out and get the job done. We just fell a little short today. Since we lost the first game, we've got to play extremely hard and keep going at it to try and get a victory."

UCF starting pitcher Brian Adkins' first pitch of the NCAA Regional was laid down for a perfect bunt single by Taylor Dugas. Following a sacrifice, Jared Reaves lined a shot into left field that Ryan Breen chased down, making a diving snag for the second out. And Dugas then was stranded at second when Adkins forced Austen Smith to fly out to right. The Knights also had a scoring opportunity in the first inning vs. Kilcrease when the righty walked D.J. Hicks and hit Jonathan Griffin with two outs, only he escaped to keep the game scoreless.

Alabama came back in the second and Josh Rosecrans rolled a groundball into left-center that resulted in a leadoff double since center fielder Richardson was shaded towards right. Two groundball outs later and the Crimson Tide had a 1-0 lead. Looking to pull even in the home half, Travis Shreve drew a walk after falling behind 0-2 with two away. He got the sign to take off for second and Sweeney sent a double into left-center. However two relay throws resulted in Shreve being thrown out at home to end the frame.

With Alabama able to keep the lead, it extended it to 2-0 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Josh Sanders with the bases loaded and one out. UCF also filled the bags in the fourth after there were no runners on base. A 3-2 walk to Erik Hempe gave way to a base hit by Breen and an infield single from Shreve as he slid into first to beat out the flip from first baseman Smith to Kilcrease. Sweeney promptly worked the count to 3-0 before earning a RBI walk, however that was the only run the Knights could sprinkle onto the scoreboard.

Quickly answering, the Tide pushed their lead back to two runs on a RBI single off the bat of Smith in the fifth, increased its advantage to 4-1 with a two-out, two-strike double by Dugas in the sixth and made it 5-1 thanks to Smith's solo homer in the seventh.

As Kilcrease retired nine-straight UCF batters in the middle innings, that stretch finally ended on Richardson's two-out solo blast deep over the high fence in right field in the bottom of the seventh.

UCF tried one final push in the bottom of the ninth, and did so with nobody on and two outs vs. closer Jonathan Smart. Sweeney started the rally with a line drive to right where Andrew Miller attempted a diving play only to have it sneak under his glove. The Knights' shortstop raced all of the way around for his third triple of the year, and Richardson followed suit with a high chopper into left field to make it 5-3. Now with the tying run at the plate, Beau Taylor hit it hard but it fell into the glove of Miller for the final out of the day.

For Saturday, if UCF meets up with Florida State the game will be televised by Sun Sports with a live online feed through NCAA.com. However, if the Knights face Bethune-Cookman, the contest will not be televised nor will there be live online video available (as of Friday afternoon). To follow the Black and Gold all weekend, listen to Marc Daniels call the action on 740-AM in Orlando or on UCF's All-Access player at UCFAthletics.com

Game Notes
No. 3 Alabama - 34-26 Overall
No. 2 UCF - 38-22 Overall
-The Knights are making their 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament since moving to the Division I ranks in 1985.
-Friday marked UCF's first NCAA postseason game since June 6, 2004, when it split two games vs. Florida State in Tallahassee.
-The Knights were 3-0 this season against teams from the Southeastern Conference before falling to Alabama Friday.
-UCF starter Brian Adkins finished with 6.0 innings of work, allowing four runs on nine hits, striking out two and walking one.
-Reliever Johnny Sedlock surrendered only one run in 3.0 innings, picking up two strikeouts.
-Beau Taylor's 15-game hitting streak came to an end Friday.
-UCF did not put the leadoff batter on base all game, and had just the second batter of an inning reach only once.
-Alabama snapped a four-game losing streak to UCF dating back to 2001.