Brett Bowens Homers Twice; Baseball Evens Series with 8-7 Win Over UCF
April 12, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. -
Memphis (13-20; 4-7 C-USA) 230 000 200 01 - 8 13 1 UCF (25-12; 3-8 C-USA) 111 100 102 00 - 7 13 1
Sophomore Tyler Huelsing launched an RBI-double to the right centerfield gap in the top of the 11th to score pinch-runner Zach Helton all the way from first and push Memphis to an 8-7 win over UCF on Saturday night. The win snapped a seven-game C-USA losing skid for the Tigers and evened the league series with the Knights at 1-1.
As was the case all game, Memphis thrived in two out situations. The Tigers, who scored six of their eight runs with two outs, got a game-winning rally going in the 11th after Cole Shelton was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. Zach Helton came on to pinch run for Shelton and Helton came through with the eventual game-winner. Huelsing (3-for-5) teamed up with Brett Bowen (3-for-5) to go a combined 6-for-10, with five RBI in the game.
UCF got runners on first and second in the home half of the 11th, but Tiger reliever Matt Yokley was able to induce a 4-6-3 double play to end the game. Yokley was the winning pitcher after a long four-inning relief outing. He fanned six and gave up two runs.
The Knights extended the game to extra frames in the ninth via a two-out rally the started with a single up the middle by Tyson Auer. Yokley struck out Chadd Hartman, but then walked Dwayne Bailey and Colin Arnold in consecutive at-bats to load the bases. Robert Lara gave UCF a crucial hit, knocking a single through the left side to score Auer and Bailey to tie the game at 7-7.
Memphis came out with a more aggressive approach in game two, scoring five two-out runs in the first two frames. K.K. Chalmers and Chad Zurcher opened the contest with back-to-back walks. The duo advanced a head a base on a sacrifice bunt by Bowen. The Tiger then mounted a two-out rally with a walk by Robby Graham to load the bases. Shelton put Memphis on top, lining a double just inside the leftfield line to plate both Chalmers and Zurcher.
UCF cut that lead in half with a sac fly by Brandon Romans, but Memphis quickly answered with three more scores in the second. All three runs were scored with two outs. Chalmers and Zurcher again started the rally with back-to-back singles to center. Bowen then dealt the Knights a big blow, blasting a towering three-run blast over the rightfield wall for a 5-1 Tiger lead. The round-tripper was Memphis' first since Bowen launched a homer over the leftfield wall at Nat Buring Stadium in a 10-5 win over UAB on March 21--13 games.
The Knights put up another run in the second. Chris Duffy drew a leadoff walk and Evan Stobbs reached on a fielding error by Bowen at third. Auer then bunted a slow roller to Bowen and his throw to first sailed wide. However, first baseman Trey Wiedman was able to snag the throw, and with Duffy motoring around third and heading for home, made a perfect strike to Kirkland to cut the run down. Hartman then singled through the leftside to make it a 5-2 game.
A double by Romans got a third-inning rally going for UCF. Eric Kallstrom followed Romans' double with a double off the base of the centerfield wall to bring the Knights to within two runs at 5-3
UCF continued to chip away at the Tiger lead with a fourth score in the fourth. Making the first C-USA start of his career, Brach Davis ran into control problems in the fourth. After striking out the leadoff hitter, he walked Bailey and Colin Arnold. The two completed their second double-steal of the game and Davis hit Romans to load the sacks. The southpaw then issued a bases-loaded walk to Kallstrom to make it a 5-4 contest. Davis was then lifted from the game in favor of freshman Marcus Barnes, who fanned Duffy to end the inning. Barnes sat down six Knights on strikes in three innings of relief action.
Bowen struck in a big way in the seventh, blasting his second homer of the game over the leftfield wall for a 6-4 cushion. Bowen is the first Tiger to hit multiple home runs since Adam Amar did it versus Michigan in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Amar was in attendance Saturday night. Robby Graham then singled through the right side and stole second base. Romans unleashed a throw into centerfield, allowing Graham to move to third. The rookie made it a three-run contest on a passed ball.
Ahead 7-5 in the top of the ninth, the Tigers missed out on a golden opportunity to extend the lead. Bowen and Wiedman each reached on singles and they were moved to third and second, respectively on a groundout by Graham. But both were left standing on base.
Davis gave up seven hits in a 3.2-inning start. He struck out two, but struggled with command, walking five. Neil Schenk faced two batters in the game. UCF closer Justin Weiss was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on four hits in four innings. He fanned three in relief of starter Mitch Houck and reliever Brennan Dobbins. Houck gave up five runs in five innings and struck out six, while Dobbins gave up two runs in two innings.
In addition to Bowen and Huelsing's performances, the Memphis offense got two hits from Chalmers and Graham. Chalmers, Zurcher and Bowen each scored twice, while Shelton added two RBI.
Bailey anchored the UCF offense with a 3-for-5 night and three runs. Lara, Kallstrom and Hartman each drove in two runs.
Memphis and UCF will conclude the C-USA series on Sunday, with the first pitch set for Noon EST (11 a.m. CST) at Jay Bergman Field. Listen to "The Voice" of Tiger Baseball, Jeff Brightwell as he brings live play-by-play action on 91.7FM. The pre-game broadcast will begin at 11:45 a.m. EST (10:45 a.m. CST).