May 14, 2011
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Ryan Woolley pitched quite possibly the best game of his outstanding senior season Saturday, holding UCF scoreless through nine innings, but the UAB offense couldn't get the run they needed to give him a win in his final start at Young Memorial Field.
After nine innings without a score for either team, UCF exploded for nine runs in the 10th to deal UAB a 9-0 loss in the second game of this weekend's Conference USA baseball series.
The teams will close the weekend on Sunday with an 11 a.m. CT first pitch in the final home game of the year for UAB (27-24, 9-14 C-USA). UCF (32-19, 9-11 C-USA) has won the first two games of the series.
Woolley allowed a leadoff single to UCF's Ronnie Richardson to open Saturday's game but then held the Knights without another hit until the eighth inning. He walked two batters in that stretch but picked one of them off and kept the Knights from getting a runner past first base from the second through seventh innings.
While Woolley was keeping UCF without any real scoring chances, UAB had opportunities but could not cash in. The Blazers stranded eight runners in the first seven innings, including six in scoring position.
"Woolley was as good as he's ever been," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "He was just dominant and shut down a really good offensive team. It's a shame we couldn't get one run for him. We were just unable to get a timely hit."
Woolley worked around a pair of leadoff singles in the eighth and tossed a scoreless ninth before Ryan Nance took the mound in the 10th.
Erik Hempe led off the 10th with a double and the Knights proceeded to load the bases with no outs. UAB forced a runner at the plate on a ground ball from Darnell Sweeney to get one out, but Richardson followed one batter later with a single up the middle through a drawn-in infield to plate the game's first two runs.
The Knights, which managed just four hits through the first nine innings, tallied six of them in the 10th and sent 12 batters to the plate. Hempe, who got everything started, finally punctuated the scoring with a grand slam. The UCF right fielder led all players with a 3-for-5 performance.
Nick Crawford had a pair of hits in the game for UAB. The Blazers had most of their scoring chances against UCF starter Danny Winkler, who scattered five hits in 6.1 innings. Knights reliever Nick Cicio held UAB to just two hits from that point on as he earned the win.
Saturday marked the first UAB game to go to extra innings scoreless since a March 3, 2006 contest against Mercer. The Blazers lost that one 3-0.
Saturday's game was the third time this season Woolley has pitched nine innings -- he posted complete-game victories in the other two -- but the first time in his career he has held an opponent scoreless through nine.