Knights sweep Wagner series
Published: Sunday, March 13, 2011
Updated: Sunday, March 13, 2011 20:03
Ben Lively and Ray Hanson both threw complete games in UCF's sweep of Wagner (1-10). None of Knights' pitchers walked a batter throughout the series.
In Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Seahawks, UCF (13-3) had just three hits compared to Wagner's six. The Knights' starting pitcher Hanson struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
From the third inning through the ninth, Hanson faced the minimum at the plate. Though he gave up three singles and hit a batter in that time, the UCF defense backed him up. Catcher Beau Taylor threw out runners at first and at second and the Knights turned two double plays.
"I feel like keeping the defense in the game is just part of pitching," Hanson said. "If you go out there and try to strike everybody out your defense can end up flat sometimes."
After an early run for Wagner in the first inning, Jonathan Griffin launched his third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second, to give UCF the lead.
"They were pitching us backwards from the beginning and Coach [Cliff] Godwin told me, "If you see a curve ball up, go for it," and I did and it worked out well for me," Griffin said.
On Saturday, Lively became the first UCF freshman to pitch a complete game since 2006. He earned UCF's 5-1 win against Wagner, striking out ten, allowed four hits, one run and no walks.
"It was just one of those days where everything was working," Lively said.
Lively, who picked up his third win of the season, was pied in the face after the victory. "I love throwing complete games, especially here and they said [UCF] hasn't had one in such a long time, and that's a big confidence booster."
The freshman, who got his first win against the Alabama Crimson Tide, holds a season ERA of 0.43 in 21 innings pitched and gave up his first and only earned run on Saturday.
"Ben did a heck of a job," head coach Terry Rooney said. "You've got to tip your hat to him. It was an unbelievable effort."
The Seahawks scored their only run of the game in the first inning on a sacrifice fly. The Knights responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs to take the lead. Shortstop Darnell Sweeney, who went 2-for-3 in the game, hit his first of two doubles to bring in Travis Shreve, who was hit by a pitch. Later in the inning, first baseman Jonathan Griffin hit an RBI-single.
The Knights scored two more immediately in the second. After right fielder Ryan Breen walked, D.J. Hicks hit a two-run shot to right center.
UCF scored its final run of game two in the third inning on another Griffin RBI-single.
Danny Winkler, Nick Cicio and Ronnie Richardson struck out 17 and walked none in Friday's 13-4 victory over Wagner. Winkler picked up his third win of the season with 10 strikeouts in six innings pitched while Richardson, the starting center fielder, struck out two in his college pitching debut.
"We talked about it a little bit my freshman year but I didn't think [Coach Rooney] was serious," Richardson said. "When he told me, I was really excited because I'm used to doing it, I did it in high school a little bit. When he told me I was coming in today, I was pumped because I've warmed up in the outfield like six times."
Wagner scored three runs off three hits and two errors in the fourth and the Knights were down 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, where they took the lead again.
"I'm proud that we battled back," Rooney said. "I think we can play a lot better and I expect that we play a lot better. It's such a fine line to be confident and confident in your abilities but you still have to go out and execute it and play the game a certain way. That's the thing that we've got to make sure we keep doing is that we keep getting better every single day that we play. Obviously the end result I'm pleased with because we played better at the end of the game but we just want to put together nine full innings."
UCF took the lead in the fifth but scored five runs in a big seventh inning, which started with a double from Erik Hempe.
Shreve went 2-for-4 with a double, stole three bases and scored four runs in the game; Griffin went 3-for-4 and batted in three runs; and Taylor went 2-for 3 with two walks and three RBI.