Conference USA Recap for 2/22

We will be providing Daily Recaps on Conference USA throughout the season. All the recaps are from the school’s press releases.

Central Florida 17, Florida A&M 1

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) – A festive crowd of 1,282 ventured to Opening Day at Jay Bergman Field Friday and had a lot to cheer about as UCF routed Florida A&M, 17-1. The Knights’ 17 runs tied a school record for most in a season-opener, as they also accomplished the feat vs. Rollins in 1998.

Senior Jaager Good (1-0) got the start for the Black and Gold and gave up just two hits and struck out eight in 5.2 innings of work, including striking out the side in the first. At the dish, senior Dwayne Bailey came one hit shy of matching the school mark for hits in a game, as he went 5-for-5 with four runs scored. Meanwhile, senior Tyson Auer tied his career high by scoring four runs as well.

“As long as you win by one run, it’s a W,” said head coach Jay Bergman, who enters his 26th season with UCF. “I thought we played very well tonight, particularly defensively, and Jaager was in control of his game. The team played with a lot of enthusiasm and what we call synergy.”

A new season brought new faces to the UCF lineup, and junior transfer Josh Siebenaler made a big first impression to leadoff the first inning, sending the second pitch he saw from Cirilo Manego (0-1) to right field for his first Division I base hit. One pitch later, Bailey blooped a single into center. Auer quickly cleared the bases by ripping a 1-2 offering to the gap in left center. After Manego picked up the first out, Auer reached third on a passed ball and Colin Arnold, another junior transfer, roped a double deep to left to make it 3-0.

The scoring continued in the second when the Knights loaded the bases with two down. Sophomore Chris Duffy collected an RBI when he was hit on the foot, Arnold notched an RBI infield single and senior Ryan Richardson was walked to bring the score to 6-0. UCF eventually batted around when sophomore Shane Brown put on 0-1 pitch to right field, plating two more runs.

The third newcomer in the Knights’ starting lineup, junior Rob Lara, got into the act in the third, leading off with a triple and came around to score on a single from Bailey. Artis Patton came on in relief and surrendered two more runs with bases-loaded walks to Richardson and Brown, while Jesse Cardenas followed Patton and hit junior Brandon Romans on the first pitch, bringing it to 12-0. Three unearned runs in the fourth stretched the lead to 15-0.

FAMU got on the scoreboard with a run in the seventh, only to see UCF reply with two runs in the eighth for the final 17-1 margin.

UCF Press Release

Long Beach State 1 Rice 0

LONG BEACH— Danny Espinosa took the first pitch from reliever Bryan Price over the head of leftfielder Aaron Luna’s head to lead No. 13-ranked Long Beach State (1-0) to a 1-0, tenth inning victory on Friday night.

Barger led off the 10th with a base hit and was then sacrificed to second base. Price then uncorked a wild pitch sending Barger to third with one out. Price then struck out pinch hitter Ted Lemasters, before walking both Chris Nelson and TJ Mittelstaedt to load the bases. Barger then scored on Espinosa’s single.

Reliever Dustin Rasco (1-0) picked up the win, striking out the side in the 10th inning to keep the game scoreless in the first extra frame.

The brisk two hour and 41 minute affair was slated to be a pitching dual between Rice’s Ryan Berry and LBSU’s Andrew Liebel.

Liebel nearly doubled his career-high in strikeouts for LBSU, bettering his mark set last year of six, to 11 with eight shutout innings. He gave up just five hits and walked just one using 93 pitches to do so.

After walking his first batter in the seventh, Liebel got out of a first and third situation with two outs, getting a called strike three on JP Padron to keep it scoreless. Liebel retired 12 in a row in between bloop hits early on, giving up a bloop double in the first and a bloop single in the fifth.

Ryan Berry, the National Freshman of the Year last season and a member of Team USA this summer, countered with the first seven shutout innings, giving up just five hits for Rice. He walked none and struck out eight.

The Beach host Rice on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Long Beach State Recap

UAB 8 Ball State 7

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB junior right-hander Mitch Kloskowski threw six innings in which he struck out seven, walked one and allowed just one run in helping the Blazers earn an 8-7 opening day victory over Ball State at Young Memorial Field on Friday. The Blazers have now won seven straight opening day games and are 23-7 all-time in season openers.

“I felt pretty good out there today,” Kloskowski said. “I feel like I’m more relaxed out there than I was last year and it just felt good to go out there and get into the game.”

Senior first baseman Ryan Keedy paced the Blazers offensively by going 2-for-4 with three RBI, two of which came on a two-run double to left field in the sixth to aid a four-run Blazer inning that opened up an 8-1 advantage.

Senior outfielder Phil Bell also had a strong day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two singles and a sacrifice fly. Junior catcher Allen Aubin scored three runs in the game, while going 2-for-2 with a single and a double on top of being hit by pitches in back-to-back at bats in the fourth and sixth innings.

Junior designated hitter Austin Taylor was 2-for-4 with two RBI in his Blazer debut.

UAB Press Release

Marshall 14 Western Carolina 9

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Senior left fielder Jeff Rowley and freshman second baseman Kenny Socorro each went deep for the first time this season to help power the Herd to a 14-9 win over Western Carolina in the non-conference season opener for both teams at Hennon Stadium.

With the win, Marshall starts the season 1-0 and picks up its first victory against Western Carolina since the two teams met in 1997. The loss drops the Catamounts to 0-1 on the season.

Trailing 9-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Western Carolina clawed its way back into the game scoring four runs of its own. With one out, sophomore shortstop Brent Greer singled, freshman right fielder Ryan Mathews was hit by a pitch, and junior pinch-hitter Andy John walked to load the bases. Greer and Mathews scored on a two-RBI single by senior second baseman Jason Haynes. John scored on a wild pitch, and Haynes scored on a fielder’s choice by sophomore third baseman Nick Liles cutting the Herd lead to 9-6.

Marshall responded in the top of the seventh inning on a three-run home run by Socorro. Freshman designated hitter Victor Gomez reached base on a single, and junior right fielder Kurt Lipton was hit by a pitch before Socorro drove the ball 390 feet to center field.

Marshall Press Release

Southern Miss 3 Lipscomb 1

HATTIESBURG, Miss – The University of Southern Mississippi baseball team used great pitching and a solid defense to win the season opener 3-1 in front of 3,347 fans Friday evening at Pete Taylor Park.

Southern Miss starting pitcher Barry Bowden (1-0) picked up his first win of the season tossing five-and-a-third innings while allowing only three hits and striking out four.

“Barry did a good job for his first start of the season, he got to the sixth and got a little bit tired, but he was also at his pre-set pitch count,” head coach Corky Palmer said.

The Southern Miss bullpen was just as impressive. Junior College transfer Wade Weathers made his Southern Miss debut throwing two-and-two-thirds innings without allowing a hit and striking out four. Tyler Conn picked up his first save of the season, pitching a perfect ninth, striking out two.

“I am real proud of the way Weathers pitched tonight,” Palmer said “He came in and just threw strikes tonight and got people out which is impressive for someone pitching in their first division-one game.”

Southern Miss Press Release

Tulane 6 Illinois Chicago 0

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Junior right-hander Shooter Hunt struck out eight in a 6.0-inning start and junior catcher Jared Dyer went 3-for-4 with a home run as the Tulane University baseball team opened the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium in style with a 6-0 victory over Illinois Chicago on Friday evening.

Hunt scattered three hits during his time on the mound and did not allow a walk. Sophomore shortstop Josh Prince – a transfer from the University of Texas – and freshman third baseman Rob Segedin went 2-for-4 in their Green Wave debuts, as did junior second baseman Seth Henry.

“Those are two guys (Dyer and Hunt) who last year were first-year players in our program and acted like veteran players tonight,” Tulane head baseball coach Rick Jones said. “They really gave us a lift both offensively and defensively, and Jared caught really well and made some really good plays around the plate.”

The story of the night, however, was the stadium itself. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Grammy-Award winner Irma Thomas singing the National Anthem, and a fireworks show prior to first pitch, the atmosphere was more like a Homecoming Football game than a season-opening baseball contest.

After playing the last two seasons nearly 20 minutes away from campus, the Green Wave played at home for the first time since June 13, 2005, and were greeted warmly by the 5,093 fans that rattled the turnstiles. And when Hunt took the mound to start the ballgame, none of the fans were sitting as the noise level swelled immensely.

“Nothing could have prepared me for that,” Hunt said. “I was trying to calm myself down, I was taking my deep breaths out there, but once I looked up and I saw all these people out here, I was like `Okay, it’s really game time now. It’s not intrasquad or fall ball. It’s time to go.’ But I was able to settle down as the game went on and I felt good.”

Tulane wasted little time jumping on the Flames, plating three runs in the first on an RBI grounder by junior left fielder Anthony Scelfo and a two-run single by Segedin. Dyer made it a 4-0 affair with a leadoff bomb in the second.

“I thought I hit it good, but I kind of got nervous because the wind knocked it down a little bit,” Dyer said of his home run. “It was great. I came into the dugout and (pitching) Coach (Chad) Sutter came up to me and said `Congratulations, we both own home run records at the school now’…except he has about 72 more than me.”

That would be more than enough support for Hunt and the Wave bullpen as the preseason All-American faced just two more than the minimum during his time on the hill before giving way to fellow junior right-hander Trey Martin to start the seventh. Martin allowed just one hit in 2.0 innings of relief, and junior closer Mason Griffin slammed the door with a perfect ninth.

UIC starter Grant Kohlstaedt settled down after the first two innings and kept Tulane off the scoreboard over the next three stanzas. In the sixth, however, Segedin, junior centerfielder Aja Barto and Dyer hit consecutive singles to chase him from the game.

Reliever Don Phillis gave up just one hit the rest of the inning, but not before Prince drove in Segedin with an infield single and Barto scored on an RBI-groundout off the bat of junior right fielder Drew Allain to account for the final score. Kohlstaedt (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits while walking a pair and striking out five.

Tulane and Illinois Chicago continue the series on Saturday with a 2 p.m. start, and close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the flagship station of Tulane baseball, WRBH 88.3 FM, but Sunday’s contest will be internet only due to a conflict with the women’s basketball team.

Every home game during the 2008 season will be streamed live on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Fans who have signed up for the All-Access Pass can watch every pitch of the action as the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium has been wired with three cameras which will not only show replays on the new video board, but also broadcast live in the Internet.

For ticket information for the remainder of the weekend and future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or go on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

Tulane Recap

Houston 3 Pacific 1

HOUSTON – Freshmen Chase Dempsay, Matt Murphy and Blake Kelso each rapped out two hits and accounted for all three runs to help lead the University of Houston baseball team during its season-opening 3-1 win over Pacific on Friday during the first game of a non-conference series at Cougar Field.

After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, the Cougars strung together four straight hits. Dempsay and Murphy started the two-out rally with back-to-back singles and moved up a base following Chris Wallace’s infield single. Kelso then slapped a two-run single into right field to hand the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.

In the fourth inning, Murphy led off with a single to left field and moved up following a groundout. Kelso followed with a double down the left-field line that scored Murphy and capped the scoring in the evening.

Kelso went 2-for-3 with a double and all three RBIs to lead a Cougar offense, which rapped out 11 hits in the game. Dempsay batted 2-for-4 with a run, while Murphy finished the night 2-for-4 with a pair of runs. Wallace and senior second baseman Ryan Lormand also went 2-for-4 to lead the Cougars.

The Tigers loaded the bases in the fifth inning with two outs, but UH starter Wes Musick forced Mike McKeever to fly out to right field to end the threat. Pacific would put at least one man on base in each of the final four innings, but Musick and the Cougar bullpen allowed no more runners past second base to seal the win.

Musick, who earned his second straight Opening Day start, collected the win after limiting the Tigers to only one run off four hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

Relievers Chris Wright and Donnie Joseph kept the Tigers in check in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, before closer John Touchton earned his first career save with a shutout ninth inning.

Pacific starter Cole Akins collected the loss after giving up three runs off 10 hits with two strikeouts in six innings.

The Tigers scored their first run of the season in the top of the second inning when McKeever smashed a 3-2 pitch over the right-field wall for a 1-0 lead.

Infielder Adam Ching went 2-for-5 for the Tigers in the losing effort.

The series continues at 3 p.m., Saturday before wrapping up at 1 p.m., Sunday at Cougar Field. Fans can hear Cougar Baseball games live at UHCougars.com by clicking the appropriate links. Jeremy Branham and Mike Acosta will call the play-by-play action while former letterwinner Pat Cauley provides color analysis.

Fans always can follow live stats by clicking on the Gametracker link.

With Saturday being such a busy day around the University of Houston Athletics Department, both Men’s Basketball and Baseball fans are invited to join in the fun. The Cougar Baseball program continues its season-opening weekend against Pacific when it meets the Tigers at 3 p.m., Saturday at Cougar Field.

Fans can purchase reserved tickets for the Men’s Basketball game against Rice for only $10. However, these discounted tickets only will be available at the Marketing table located on the concourse at Cougar Field during Saturday’s baseball game against Pacific.

Representatives from the Marketing Office will be selling Men’s Basketball tickets to the Rice game through the end of the seventh inning.

All Cougar fans are invited to come out to both games and enjoy a full day of Cougar Baseball and Men’s Basketball.

Houston Recap

Seton Hall 3 Memphis 1

Memphis got a strong Opening Day start from junior Scott McGregor, but its bats were silenced by a combined 12 strikeouts from a trio of Seton Hall pitchers in a 3-1 season-opening loss in the 2008 Service Academies Spring Classic at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.

“We’re gonna have some growing-up pains,” said Memphis coach Daron Schoenrock. “We missed some opportunities offensively, and we made a couple of mistake defensively. But all in all, I really like this club.”

An inexperienced squad, Memphis’s position starter combined for just 79 total Division I starts, with 41 of those starts coming from catcher Chris Kirkland last year. The Tiger newcomers were just 4-for-19 in the game.

McGregor (0-1) put forth one of his better collegiate outings, fanning five and holding Seton Hall to just two unearned runs in six innings of work. However, a pair of errors allowed Seton Hall to score two runs, including the tie-breaking second run in the sixth inning, thus saddling McGregor with a tough loss.

Memphis, who was held to six hits in the game, posted two of those base knocks in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Tyler Huelsing legged out an infield hit and moved to second on a passed ball to set up an RBI single off the bat of freshman Robby Graham. The hit and RBI was Graham’s first in his first collegiate at-bat.

The Pirates answered back immediately in the top of the second. Greg Miller led the inning off with a single and later scored on a Tiger error.

The Pirates plated a third tally off of reliever Neil Schenk. SHU first baseman Tim McCann lined Schenk’s first offering into the leftfield corner for a leadoff double and then put the Pirates ahead 3-1 when he scored on a single to centerfield by Matt Smedberg. Schenk was solid in three innings, giving up one run and allowing just three hits. He struck out four, including fanning the side in the ninth.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall starter Corey Young cruised through five innings, striking out eight and scattering five hits. The southpaw struck out the side in the third and fanned two in both the fourth and fifth innings before giving way to Chris McGlynn. McGlynn held Memphis scoreless in three innings. Greg Miller then struck out the side in the ninth to pick up the save.

Memphis, who started four newcomers, was paced by Graham’s two hits. Seton Hall got two hits from Mark Pappas and Dan Lopez.

The Tigers will now look ahead to a meeting with Ohio State tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m.

Memphis Press Release

Thanks to Southern Miss for helping out with the Recaps.