May 6, 2009
Box Score in PDF Format
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Altamonte Springs freshman D.J. Hicks pounded out two home runs, including a grand slam in a seven-run seventh, in UCF's 14-9 home victory over Stetson Wednesday. Hicks also picked up the win vs. the Hatters (23-26) by pitching 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, boosting the Knights' overall record to 18-30.
"I was looking for something inside to drive and I think that might have been the farthest (I've ever hit the ball)," said Hicks of his grand slam. "And I don't think I remember hitting a (grand slam) in high school. But I'm just trying to hit the gaps, and staying back is the biggest thing."
It was Hicks' second two-homer game, and the Knights' first grand slam since Robert Lara connected for one vs. USF April 8, 2008. Hicks now has seven long balls on the year, and they have all occurred since April 24. Meanwhile, his record on the mound moved to 4-4 by pitching impressive seventh and eighth innings.
The Black and Gold also picked up a four-bagger from junior Chris Duffy, which was career dinger No. 22 and moved him into a tie for 10th on UCF's all-time list. With three more home runs as a team, the 2009 squad has now hit 64 on the year, the second most in a single season in school history.
Duffy along with freshman Austin Smith each had three hits and two runs scored, as all nine starters collected at least one run. Also shining at the plate, junior Shane Brown's hitting streak reached 11 games thanks to a 2-for-5 performance.
Two-out hitting produced the game's first run, where Brown lined a Jake Hitchcock pitch into right-center field and advanced to second on an error. Senior Brandon Romans quickly followed with a RBI single into center, giving UCF the early 1-0 lead.
Even though Aaron Crittenden replied in the second by way of a solo homer to center off sophomore Evan Stobbs, Hicks supplied one of his own by driving his first home run of the night deep over the left-center fence in the home half. One out later and Duffy placed one almost in the same spot for his sixth of the year as well. The Knights were not done in the frame, as Smith singled with two away, stole second and scored on a base hit off the bat of senior Eric Kallstrom.
The Hatters responded in the third, putting the first three batters aboard in a two-run inning to cut it to 4-3. Yet again, that was answered when UCF dug in for its version of the third vs. reliever Blake Marsocci. With two outs and senior Kiko Vazquez at second, freshman Jake Huxtable notched an infield single, giving way to RBI base hits from Duffy and Smith.
Now holding a 6-3 advantage, the Knights scored in their fourth-straight inning when Brown drove in Kallstrom on a single up the middle. Stetson would not go away, and the sixth would prove to be a huge change of momentum. The first seven Hatters reached base in the stanza, setting up a six-run inning that enabled them to jump ahead of UCF, 9-7.
Similar to so many UCF-Stetson battles over the last few years, the game was far from over. A dropped foul ball started the seventh inning for the Black and Gold and Duffy took advantage, singling to center. Eventually it filled the bags and the first run crossed when Kallstrom was plunked. Two more runs scored on another HBP and a wild pitch with one out, returning the lead to the Knights.
Still with the bases juiced, Hicks, who started as UCF's designated hitter and came on to pitch in relief starting in the top of the seventh, gave himself some more run support, crushing a grand slam over the scoreboard in right field. That ultimately deflated the Stetson morale, and freshman Jordan Rasinski closed out the ninth without giving up a hit.
The Knights will now conclude their Conference USA regular-season road schedule this weekend when they travel to Houston to face No. 2 Rice starting Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Baseball flex pack voucher packages as well as single game tickets are on sale for the 2009 campaign. Call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 for more information. Fans may also visit UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, and is the home of UCF's online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
Stetson - 23-26 Overall
UCF - 18-30 Overall
WP: D.J. Hicks (4-4), 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
LP: Tucker Donahue (0-1), 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- Shane Brown's 11-game hitting streak is the second streak he has had this year of at least 10 games (22-game stretch March 4 to April 7).
- Cory Weech made his 25th appearance of the year on the hill, tying for the eighth most in a single season at UCF.
- Kiko Vazquez was hit by a pitch for the 48th time in his career, moving him two closer to tying Ryan Bono's all-time Knights record.
- Vazquez already owns the single-season record with 21 HBP this year. Those 21 hit by pitches, meanwhile, are just one shy of the 2009 NCAA lead, as Campbell's Chris Bangi and Northern Illinois' Jordin Hood have been plunked 22 times.
- Eric Kallstrom, Shane Brown, Brandon Romans and D.J. Hicks each had two hits.
- The Knights outhit the Hatters 15-13, while the Black and Gold did not commit and error.
- Brennan Dobbins tossed 2.0 innings of scoreless ball in the fourth and fifth frames, striking out three.