No. 13 UCF Tops Marshall 8-6 with Ninth-Inning Rally


Freshman Joe McGillicuddy was nearly untouchable in 3.2 innings against No. 13 UCF

Freshman Joe McGillicuddy was nearly untouchable in 3.2 innings against No. 13 UCF

May 11, 2012

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For eight innings, the Marshall baseball team traded punches with one of the nation’s best, but a breakdown in the top of the ninth would see No. 13 UCF score three runs and defeat the Thundering Herd 8-6 Friday at Appalachian Power Park.

It was the third time in the last four games that the Herd (15-33, 3-16 C-USA) lost despite being tied or having a lead in the ninth.  It also extended Marshall’s losing streak to a season-high six games. 

UCF (39-11, 14-5 C-USA) seemed content to play small ball throughout the early and middle innings, plating a run in four of its first five frames before exploding in the ninth with three. 

Left fielder James Vasquez provided the game-tying RBI with a sacrifice fly with one out in the ninth, and Chris Taladay came around to score the winning run minutes later as Marshall committed the fourth of its five errors for the game. 

The ninth inning began with back-to-back singles from D.J. Hicks and Taladay, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Alex Friedrich which put runners on second and third with one out.  Vasquez’s sacrifice fly came next to tie the game, and UCF took the lead when freshmen Sergio Leon and Adrian Farris committed a pair of errors. 

Sophomore Josh King (2-4) took the loss, giving up three runs – one earned – on three hits in his only inning of work. 

UCF’s Roman Madrid (3-2) grabbed the win, and Joe Rogers claimed the save.  Rogers set a school record for most career saves (28). 

Marshall rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game up in the third when Alfredo Brito smacked a two-out single to right field to score two.  The rally began when Andrew Dundon drew a 13-pitch walk with two out and nobody on.  Nathan Gomez followed with a base hit, and Eric Escobedo walked to load the bases for Brito. 

After conceding another run in the top of the fourth, Marshall responded with a four-spot in the bottom half.  Isaac Ballou, Gomez, and Escobedo all drove in runs with two-out hits.  Gomez lifted a double off the wall in right field to plate two of the four runs and give Marshall its first lead of the game at 6-3. 

An error in the top of the fifth allowed UCF to scratch one of those runs back, and Nick Carrillo’s home run to right field off Matt Margaritonda in the eighth cut the Herd’s lead to one, 6-5. 

Lance Elder made his eighth start of the season and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits.  Fellow freshman Joe McGillicuddy worked in relief of Elder.  McGillicuddy fired 3.2 innings of brilliance, scattering two hits and a walk but permitting an unearned run in the fifth. 

The Herd forced Knights starting pitcher Ben Lively into an early exit as well, tagging the sophomore with six earned runs on seven hits.  Lively struck out four and walked four. 

Gomez (2-for-3), Brito (2-for-5), and Gray Stafford (2-for-3) all finished the game with two hits.  Gomez scored twice and drove in a pair.  Brito drove in two, and Dundon came around to score twice. 

Game two of the series will begin Saturday at 2:05 p.m.  Festivities prior to Saturday’s contest include a pregame cookout as well as a ceremony for the Herd’s four seniors.