No. 13 Cougars Fall One-Run Short to No. 18 UCF
May 2, 2014
HOUSTON - A late-game rally fell just short as No. 13 Houston Baseball fell one run shy of No. 18 UCF in a 4-3 fall at Cougar Field Friday evening in American Athletic Conference play.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 33-13 on the year and 8-8 in conference action, while UCF improved to 29-16 and 16-3 in American play. The one-run game marked the 17th one-run game of the season with the Cougars owning a 10-7 advantage in those games.
Houston out hit UCF, 11-7 as three Cougars recorded a multi-hit game - led by senior Caleb Barker's 3-for-4 effort, one run game. Sophomores Josh Vidales and Justin Montemayor each had two hits apiece, while Montemayor tallied an RBI.
Seniors Casey Grayson (1x4, RBI) and Frankie Ratcliff (0x4, R, RBI) recorded an RBI to accompany hits by sophomore Kyle Survance (1x5), freshman Connor Hollis (1x4) and sophomore Ashford Fulmer (1x3, R).
With his walk in the fifth, Grayson has now reached base safely in 19 straight games.
Junior starter Aaron Garza (6.2,6,4,4,1,3) went 6.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts, but was tagged with his fourth loss - falling to 6-4 on the year.
Out of the pen, Houston used senior Aaron Stewart (0.1,0,0,0,0,0) - who recorded his one out before handing the ball over to junior Jared Robinson (0.2,1,0,0,1,1), who allowed one hit and a walk in the seventh.
Senior Tyler Ford (1.1,0,0,0,0,2)) then entered with two on and two outs in the eighth to induce an inning-ending popup to keep it a one-run game heading into the ninth. He went on to toss a hitless ninth inning, recording two strikeouts.
The Houston bullpen held UCF to just one hit in the final 5.0 innings - after the Knights tallied five in the first four frames.
Through four complete, UCF held a 4-0 lead after plating a single run in the second, two in the third and one in fourth. The Knights used a leadoff hit-by-pitch, a single, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly to take the early lead on the Cougars.
UCF padded its lead with two more runs in the third following a one-out single and two-out, two-run homerun. Up 3-0, the Knights took advantage of a leadoff single and a two-out RBI-triple off the wall in right field to extend their early lead. The triple off the wall was kept in the ball park when Survance robbed JoMarcos Woods of a homerun, saving a run for Houston.
The Cougars would find the scoreboard in the fifth following two hits and a UCF error. Barker got things rolling for Houston in the fifth when he reached on his second hit of the night, a single up the middle. Survance then followed with a single into the left center gap and both base runners advanced a base on a fielding error by UCF's centerfielder to put runners at second and third for Ratcliff to plate Barker on a groundout.
Houston had another prime opportunity to score in the seventh when Fulmer and Barker both recorded back-to-back singles to open the frame. However, a double play erased Barker at second, while Fulmer moved up a bag. Ratcliff then walked, which allowed Grayson to drive in the Cougars' second run on an RBI-single up the middle.
The inning was kept alive when Montemayor singled and drove in Ratcliff from second base to make it a 4-3 game. Vidales then singled to load the bases, but UCF escaped the Houston threat, stranding bases loaded to end the seventh - holding a one-run lead over the Cougars.
In the eighth, Houston ended up stranding the bases loaded after a leadoff walk by junior Michael Pyeatt
UCF starter Eric Skoglund (6.2,8,3,2,3,5) went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, while walking three and striking out five to earn the win - improving to 8-1.
Senior Day: Houston will honor its nine seniors (Casey Grayson, Frankie Ratcliff, Jacob Lueneburg, Caleb Barker, Landon Appling, Tyler Ford, Chase Wellbrock, Aaron Stewart, Daniel Smith) prior to the start of Sunday's game.
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