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Baseball Falls to Houston in Extra Innings

ORLANDO – The UCF baseball team (23-18, 5-8 AAC) fell in the opening game of the American Athletic Conference series against the Houston Cougars (24-28, 9-4 AAC) with a final score of 13-7 after 10 innings Friday night at John Euliano Park.

The Cougars jumped out to a commanding lead early in the game, scoring seven in the first two frames, including two home runs.

The Knights responded, chipping away at the seven-run deficit with a four-run second inning. Back-to-back singles from Lex Boedicker and John Rhys Plumlee and a full-count walk from Cole Russo loaded the bases. Andrew Brait cleared the bases to put the Knights on the board, ripping a 1-2 pitch down the right-field line for his second triple of the year. Ben McCabe added one more for a 7-4 ballgame as he singled down the left-field line to score Brait.

In the bottom of the 4th, Brait notched his fourth RBI of the game, tying his career single-game high on a single which plated Plumlee, who was hit by a pitch to reach base.

Completely erasing the seven-run deficit, Ben McCabe blasted a towering two-run home run to right-center, scoring Brait after his third hit of the day put him on first base. With this home run, his 13th of the season and 43rd of his career, McCabe tied Chris Duffy and Bobby Kiser's all-time home run record at UCF. For the second season in a row, McCabe broke into the top ten in single-season home runs, tying his 2022 total as the last player to hit the 14 mark. He also scored his 153rd career run, taking sole possession of second place all-time in the AAC, behind only ECU's Lane Hoover (161, active).

Shutdown bullpen performances from Dom Stagliano and Najer Victor, who combined to allow no runs and only five hits over 6.2 innings of work, kept the Knights in the game through the eighth inning. Kyle Kramer struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning to maintain the tie 7-7 game.

In the 10th inning, the Cougars scored six unanswered runs to take the first game of the series.

The Knights and Cougars play Saturday at 12 p.m., as the first pitch, originally scheduled for 6 p.m., was shifted forward due to projected inclement weather in the evening.