May 4, 2014
No. 18 UCF
No. 13 HOUSTON
HOUSTON - No. 13 Houston Baseball used timely hitting and an all-around gutsy pitching effort to come away with a series-clinching 5-2 win over No. 18 UCF on Sunday afternoon at Cougar Field. The win lifted the Cougars' record to 35-13 and 10-8 in American Athletic Conference action.
Houston gave conference leader UCF its first series loss in league play this season after producing a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Saturday and a 5-2 win on Sunday. With the loss, the Knights fell to 29-18 and 16-5 in American play.
The Cougars have now won nine of their 10 weekend series of the year and improved to an impressive 24-8 at Cougar Field this season.
Despite being out hit, 9-8, Houston used timely hitting - led by senior Casey Grayson and sophomore Kyle Survance -who each produced a multi-RBI game - combining for five RBI and four of the eight hits.
Freshman Connor Hollis led all hitters with three hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Grayson was 2-for-4 with three RBI on a bases-clearing double down the right field line.
Survance joined that duo with a two-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two-out, two-RBI single to extend Houston's lead to 5-2 in the sixth. Scoring two runs and tallying a hit and a walk was senior Landon Appling, while senior Frankie Ratcliff walked and scored a run
Houston starter David Longville (4.1,4,1,1,1,2) went 4.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts, but left with the no-decision, handing the ball over to senior Tyler Ford in the fifth.
Ford (1.1,2,1,1,0,1) induced a one-out, two-base runner jam with the Cougars ahead just 3-1 in the fifth and was able to escape without UCF plating a run. He then returned in the sixth and worked a total 1.1 innings, allowing just two hits and a run with a strikeout to earn his sixth win - improving to 6-0 on the year.
Senior Chase Wellbrock (3.1,3,0,0,1,4) continued his impressive work as Houston's closer, tallying a season-long 3.1 innings out of the pen - without allowing a run and only surrendering three hits and a walk with four strikeouts to earn save No. 10 on the year and No. 22 of his career.
UCF jumped ahead of Houston, 1-0, in the first after three hits, but the Cougars wouldn't let that affect them offensively as they worked a three-run inning in the third to go up 3-1. Appling opened the frame with a leadoff walk, moved up to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by senior Caleb Barker. Survance then singled and Ratcliff walked to load the bases for Grayson - who doubled down the right field line - clearing the bases for three RBI.
The Knights were held scoreless for four straight frames before scratching a run across in the sixth to make it 3-2 following two hits.
The sixth inning was a big one for the Cougars when they took advantage of the bright sun and capitalized on a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Survance. With one out, Hollis continued to have a day with his third hit of the afternoon. He then moved first to third on an infield fly that was caught in the sun for an Appling single. With runners at first and third, Barker worked around a UCF missed popup to draw a walk, extending the inning - setting up an RBI-situation for Survance - who put Houston up 5-2 late.
For the second straight game, the bullpen has secured and preserved several come-from-behind wins for the Cougars.
UCF starter Tanner Olson (3.0,4,3,3,3,3) fell to 3-3 on the year with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.
Houston honored its nine seniors during Sunday's pregame ceremonies as Landon Appling, Caleb Barker, Tyler Ford, Casey Grayson, Jacob Lueneburg, Frankie Ratcliff, Daniel Smith, Aaron Stewart and Chase Wellbrock were honores.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"That was a huge win today, being able to have the dramatic win last night, and get ready to go today was big. We got good pitching today. (David) Longville was good and (Chase) Wellbrock was outstanding coming out of the pen. (Tyler Ford) TFord did his thing, and the pitching staff just kept doing what they've been doing. The big deal was the clutch hits. We had a lot of clutch hits, and today was about playing a tough team and embracing the situations instead of being afraid. We talked about turning fear into fun before the game. It's fun to go up there and drive in runs. When you ask Casey (Grayson) that double he hit with the bases loaded was fun. Proud of their effort, and we just have to keep on rolling."
On getting the big hit on Senior Day
"It's good to come out and play in front of the home fans, who have supported you all season. They appreciated the seniors today, and it was good to perform like that. It was a great day for us, especially because we were able to win today. To leave here with a win, is huge for us."
On getting the save on Senior Day
"It's a big feeling not just for me, but for the entire team. This was a big senior class, and we're really dedicated to this season. We really wanted this last weekend game for our fans, and for our guys."
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Houston will return to action for a final home midweek tune-up when it welcomes Prairie View A&M to Cougar Field on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Following that game, the Cougars will travel to face UConn in a three-game weekend set, beginning Saturday in a double-header in Connecticut at 10 a.m. CT.
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.
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