May 3, 2014
No. 18 UCF
No. 13 HOUSTON
HOUSTON - A game-tying homerun by Ashford Fulmer and a game-winning base hit by Kyle Survance with two outs in the bottom of the ninth lifted No. 13 Houston Baseball to a thrilling 4-3 walkoff American Athletic Conference win over No. 18 UCF at Cougar Field on Saturday evening to even the weekend series.
With the win, Houston improved to 34-13 and 9-8 in league action, while UCF fell to 29-17 and 16-4. The Cougars earned their fourth walkoff win of the season and first in conference play.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Fulmer entered in as a pinch hitter and belted a solo homerun, his fourth of the year, to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. The inning was extended when senior Landon Appling singled and advanced to third on a stolen base and a throwing error by the Knights' catcher. Senior Daniel Smith kept the inning alive with a walk - allowing Survance to drive in the game-winner on a single down the left field line - scoring Appling to make it a 4-3 game.
Houston and UCF were even in the hit column at 7-7, but the Cougars out drove the Knights with four of the seven as extra base hits.
Seven different Cougars contributed in the hit column with a base knock, while four drove in an RBI.
Fulmer (1x1, R, RBI) and senior Casey Grayson (1x4, R, RBI) each homered as Grayson extended his reaching base streak to now 20 straight games.
Joining Fulmer and Grayson with an extra base hit and an RBI was senior Frankie Ratcliff (1x4, RBI) with a double, scoring the Cougars' first run, while Survance (1x4, R, RBI) singled and drove in a run - the game-winner.
UCF grabbed an early lead with a run in the top of the first, but Houston balanced that with an RBI-double off the right center wall by Ratcliff, scoring Survance from first after he opened the game with a leadoff walk.
The Knights plated a single run in the second and third innings to regain the lead to 3-1, but the Cougars didn't let up as Grayson drove a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall for his fifth homerun of the year to narrow the deficit to one through three complete.
Sophomore starter Jake Lemoine (7.0,7,3,3,1,5) was brilliant down the stretch, working out of several jams and keeping UCF off the board over the next four innings - allowing just one hit in those frames. He handed the ball over to Maxwell (2.0,0,0,0,0,3), who shut UCF down in order in the eighth, which included two strikeouts.
Maxwell then returned to work a hitless ninth - giving Houston a chance in the latter half of the frame. As the pitcher of record, Maxwell improved to 3-0 out of the pen with the win.
UCF reliever Trent Thompson (2.2,3,2,2,1,1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk in 2.2 innings of work to fall to 1-5 on the year.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"It was a gritty performance by the team tonight. (Jake) Lemoine goes out, and doesn't have sharp stuff, and gives up three runs, but is absolutely nails the rest of the way. Bubba (Maxwell) comes in, and just blows their doors off. He was like that on Tuesday as well. You're talking about a guy who was 93-95 tonight with a pretty good slider. He's another piece to the puzzle on the pitching that has been pretty good."
"From an offensive standpoint, I'm watching a team that is really frustrated right now. There isn't anything to be frustrated about, because we have a really good team. Instead of being frustrated, and having fear, we're turning fear into fun. That's what we did at the end of the game. You can't get more clutch than those at bats at the end of the game. You hit a home run with two strikes, and (Kyle) Survance hits the ball down the left field line with two strikes to win it. I'm proud of the team as they just have to keep going."
On the team finding a way to win despite being down
"One thing I appreciate about this team is the fact that they never quit playing. We may not played good everyday, but we always come out and play hard. As a coach all you can ask for is that they do that. You just have to grind the game away... this game is pretty hard. It's not easy at all, and they're handling adversity very well. That was a big win for us tonight."
On the walkoff hit
"I got down 0-2 in the count, and I saw a breaking ball up in the zone. I just tried to drive the ball the other way, and I was able to do that. We played well today, but we've got to swing the bats better. We had a couple situations where we could've been better in moving guys over, so we'll have to be better at that to get the win tomorrow."
On the game tying home run in the ninth
"I knew if I got in the game, I'd have one job, and that's hit the ball out of the ballpark. I was working on staying back, and letting the barrel do its job."
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Houston and UCF will wrap up its weekend series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Cougar Field. The Cougars will honor their nine seniors prior to the start - beginning around 12:40 p.m.
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.
By visiting UHCougars.com, clicking the Tickets link, and then Purchase Tickets, while following the appropriate links to the Baseball page or by clicking here, fans can begin purchasing tickets for single games at Cougar Field this season.
KIDS (8th grade & younger) with CAMP T-SHIRT GET IN FREE
Kids who show up to Cougar Field in a UH Baseball Camp T-Shirt and are in the eighth grade or younger will receive FREE ADMISSION to any Houston Baseball home game.
SUNDAY - SENIOR DAY/FAN APPRECIATION DAY
All season ticket holders are eligible to receive a free pair of tickets to Sunday's game to invite guests
The two tickets can be redeemed at the gate
Prices for single game tickets are half-off
The first 400 fans in attendance will receive a free t-shirt