UH's bullpen allows UCF to rally for win in C-USA opener
Michael Goodnight was good. but when he called it a night, Friday quickly turned into a bad day for Houston.
Central Florida scored three runs off reliever Chase Dempsay and Ryan Breen’s two-run home run in the ninth sealed a 7-4 setback for the Cougars in their Conference USA opener.
“We deserved to lose,” said UH coach Rayner Noble, who blamed the loss on issuing too many walks (seven) and an inability to match the Golden Knights’ hitting in the clutch.
“We played poorly, and when you play poorly you’re going to lose.”
The Cougars dropped to 10-10 overall and 0-1 in conference in the first of three games against the Knights (15-8, 1-0), whose six-game winning streak is their longest in two years.
Goodnight did his part, muzzling UCF’s potent sticks through six innings of work. He struck out seven and allowed two earned runs on just three hits before leaving in the seventh.
Chris Duffy came in leading the country in hits, home runs and RBIs but was 0-of-3 against Goodnight, with an RBI on a groundout. but Duffy had the final say in their dual.
His RBI single in the eighth tied it 3-3, giving Goodnight (3-2) his first no-decision in six starts.
“(Goodnight) did OK,” Noble said. “He just, like the rest of our guys, walked way too many of their batters and gave them a lot of opportunities.”
Dempsay (1-1) tried to make a diving play on Duffy’s game-tying shot instead of covering first base. later, Ronnie Richardson’s RBI single zipped past Dempsay for a 5-3 lead — and all he could do was throw his glove at it. Dempsay walked three and allowed three hits in two innings.
“It was just one of those bad-luck nights,” Dempsay said.
The Cougars had just three two-out singles and trailed 1-0 through four innings, but a leadoff walk in the fifth got them going. They went on to out-hit UCF 11-8.
With runners at first and third, lefty pinch hitter Matt Murphy slapped a single past third baseman Derek Luciano, plating Matt Creel for a 1-1 tie.
Zak Presley (2-for-5, RBI) then gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead with an infield shot the Knights couldn’t play, allowing Chris Wallace to score.
UCF knotted the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth, but UH answered in the bottom on Austin Gracey’s single, which plated Caleb Ramsey and gave Goodnight a 3-2 lead when he left.
Reliever Brian Adkins (1-3) earned the win for the Knights. Starter Owen Dew gave up three earned runs on seven hits across 5 2/3 innings.
Dew went in place of scheduled starter Nick Cicio, a late scratch due to illness. He was projected as today’s starter. William Kankel (0-1, 4.91 ERA) is expected to start for the Cougars.
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