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The heartbreaking loss
dropped UCF to 26-19 overall and 10-10 in the A-Sun while Gardner-Webb improved
to 28-19 and 13-13 in the league.
In game one, Stertzbach (3-4) was helped by a Golden Knights’ offense that
registered 10 hits and two home runs in the shutout win.
The complete game shutout for Stertzbach was the first by a UCF pitcher on the
road since Casey Kennedy blanked No. 24 Clemson 5-0 on January 30, 2000. Kennedy
shutout the Tigers at the ACC/Disney Blast at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in
the first series of the 2000 campaign.
Stertzbach was in control all day long, as he yielded just three hits while
facing just four batters over the minimum. Stertzbach fanned six as he retired
10 of the game’s final 11 batters.
The Golden Knights scored first with two runs on one swing in the second. Rich
Wallace drilled a two-run home run to left-center to give UCF a 2-0 advantage.
Ryan Bear led off the inning with a double to left field before Wallace hit his
fourth home run of the season on an 0-2 count.
UCF extended its lead in the sixth with two important insurance runs. Drew
Butera drove in a run with a single through the left side to give the Golden
Knights a 3-0 lead. P.J. Lehmann executed a perfect sacrifice squeeze bunt to
score Clay Timpner to extend the Golden Knights lead to 4-0.
Bear, Wallace and Timpner fueled the UCF attack by going 7-for-10 with two home
runs, two doubles and four RBI.
Bear finished things off in the seventh after he crushed a two-run home run to
left field to increase the lead to 6-0.
In game two, Mark Michael and Zachery Ward each tossed four scoreless innings
before UCF tallied a run in the fifth. Timpner going things started with a
double down the left field line, his third two-bagger of the twinbill. After a
wild pitch, Butera lined a RBI-single to left field to plate Timpner giving UCF
a 1-0 lead.
UCF looked to be in control for their second straight shutout win entering the
seventh before the Bulldogs pulled off a remarkable comeback.
Michael yielded a single to Sam Bradford to start the inning before David
Futrelle laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Bradford to second. Jay
Bergman then made the call to the bullpen for freshman closer Kyle Bono, who
entered the game with a sparkling 0.36 ERA.
Bono walked the first batter he faced to load the bases before Jim Glueckert
registered an infield single to tie the game at one. The hit stayed just fair on
front of Bono, in between first base and home plate. With the bases still loaded
and one out, Matt Higginson flied out to shallow left field for the second out,
but Ryan McGirr tagged up on the play and scored the game-winning run after
Butera threw the ball away on the relay throw to end the game.
The improbable comeback win snapped a streak of 13.1 scoreless innings for the
UCF pitching staff to start the series and ruined a bid for back-to-back shutout
wins in the conference. The back-to-back shutout wins would have been a first in
UCF history in an A-Sun contest.
UCF stranded five runners in the game-two loss and hit into four double plays.
Michael earned the hard-luck loss, falling to 6-4 on the year. He fanned seven
while allowing just three hits and one earned run on the day.
UCF attempts to win the series Monday at 1:30 p.m. at Varsity Field on the
campus of Gardner-Webb. Matt Fox is scheduled to start his first career A-Sun
game on the hill tomorrow for UCF. With a win, UCF will move into fifth place in
the conference standings while a loss will drop the Golden Knights to ninth
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