May 18, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - After nearly 24 hours and two rain delays, UCF has claimed the opening game of the three-game weekend series over the Rice baseball team by a score of 8-6.
UCF jumped on the scoreboard with a big five-run inning in the bottom of the third. The Knights loaded the bases on a walk, single and hit batsman. Shortstop Darnell Sweeney drove in two with a double to left-center. Chris Taladay followed with a two-run single, and he was able to advance an extra station when the Owls made a fielding error handling the ball. Taladay scored an unearned run on a single by D.J. Hicks that extended the lead to 5-0.
The Knights then added three more unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth after a Rice fielding error. The big blow was a three-run double by Alex Friedrich to make it 8-0, where half the scores were unearned.
Rice came back with first three of its eventual six-run fifth inning before play was suspended. Geoff Perrott and Michael Aquino knocked back-to-back doubles to left to lead it off. Aquino went to third on a ground-out to the right side and scored on an RBI grounder by J.T. Chargois. Michael Ratterree walked and Jeremy Rathen doubled down the left-field line for another score.
Umpires cleared the UCF facility when lightning began to strike in the area. Heavy rains followed, suspending play until Friday afternoon. When play resumed at 3 pm local time the Owls kept the rally alive with three more runs to cut the margin to 8-6.
The teams were delayed again heading into the bottom of the seventh by another rain delay that lasted almost two hours.
In the top of the ninth Rice attempted a two-out rally by putting two men on base and bringing the potential leading run to the plate, but the Knights worked out of the jam for an 8-6 final.
The second game of the series is set to begin at 7:13 local time (6:13 Central).