UCF Baseball Drops 8-5 Decision at USF

The first of four meetings in 2009 produced a back-and-forth affair Tuesday in Tampa, but it was USF that took charge with three runs in the seventh for an 8-5 victory over the UCF baseball team. The Knights fell to 4-8 on the season as the two clubs will meet again Wednesday in Orlando.

Sophomore Brennan Dobbins received the start for the Knights and went 5.0 innings with five strikeouts and four earned runs against on four hits. UCF's offense accumulated six hits, highlighted by freshman Beau Taylor's first-career home run.

USF (6-5) was the first to get on the board, plating one run in the third inning as Peter Brotons led off with a triple and scored on a sac fly. But the Knights came right back in the fourth with a pair of two-out runs. With junior Shane Brown at second, senior Brandon Romans drove a 1-0 pitch from Teddy Kaufman into left center to even it up. Sophomore Evan Stobbs followed by drilling a fly ball to center that Ryan Lockwood misjudged, and it fell behind him for a RBI triple.

After cruising through the first four frames giving up just one hit, Dobbins struggled in the fifth. The Bulls quickly loaded the bases with no outs and following a short fly ball for out No. 1, Lockwood flared a two-strike pitch just over the infield to bring in two for a 3-2 advantage. A wild pitch moved two runners into scoring position, and even though Dobbins picked up a strikeout, he tossed in another wild pitch with two down to help USF plate another run.

Although the Black and Gold trailed 4-2, the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Brown and junior Chris Duffy, opened the sixth with a double and single, respectively. The Bulls then went to the pen in favor of Andrew Salgueiro, who moved Duffy to second on a wild pitch. Stepping into the box with two key runs aboard, senior Kiko Vazquez lifted a sac fly to center to score Brown and get Duffy to third, and Romans did his job by sending a ground ball to the right side to allow Duffy to tie it back up.

When UCF dug into its bullpen for the bottom of the sixth, the Bulls went back on top with one run, only to witness Taylor deliver a first-pitch solo homer to right to leadoff the seventh. It was the Knights' 15th home run of the season.

But the flow of the game would continue in the home half, where USF took control with the three deciding runs, capped off by Sam Mende's two-run blast to left.

The home-and-home with USF concludes Wednesday when the Knights take on the Bulls back in Orlando at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised by Bright House Sports Network (tape-delayed to 8 p.m.).

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