June 6, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State (44-21) fell to UCF (47-17) by a final score of 7-5 in front of 3,897 fans at Dick Howser Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Knights scored six runs over the final four innings to force a decisive second championship game at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional. Dee Brown’s solo home run to lead off the eighth inning sealed the win for Central Florida. Brian Brooks (4-1) earned the victory after holding FSU to two runs (one earned) on four hits in 5.1 innings of relief. Brooks walked two with one strikeout.
FSU scored first with a single run in the bottom of the first. Stephen Drew tripled off the screen in right field and scored on a wild pitch from UCF starter Mike Billek to put the Seminoles up 1-0. Drew’s triple was the 19th of his career, which tied him with Mickey Lopez for most triples all-time at FSU.
The Seminole lead grew to 3-0 after a pair of solo home runs from Ryne Malone and Drew in the second and third innings. Malone led off the second with a solo home run, his 11th of the season and Drew’s two-out solo blast to right center iin the third gave Florida State a three run lead.
UCF cut the FSU lead to 3-1 with a run in the fourth. Matt Ray walked and advanced to third after a stolen base and an errant throw by catcher Aaron Cheesman. Ray came home to score on Dee Brown’s infield single for the Golden Knights first run.
Bryan Zech’s sacrifice fly to right plated Shane Robinson to give the Seminoles a three run lead at 4-1. Robinson was hit by pitch, stole second and moved to third on a fielding error by second baseman Matt Ray before scoring on the sacrifice fly.
The Golden Knights got back in the game with three runs in the sixth inning. David Mann and Clay Timpner recorded back-to-back singles and Ray reached on a fielding error on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases with no outs. Brown followed with a two-run single through the left side to bring UCF to within one at 4-3. After Ryan Bono’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, Marshall Bernhard’s RBI-groundout scored Ray to tie the game at four apiece.
Central Florida took its first lead of the game with one run in the seventh inning. Kevin Richmond singled to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch and Drew Butera’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third with one out. Timpners’ double down the left line brought home Richmond for the go ahead run.
Florida State tied the game at 5-5 in the home half of the seventh. Robinson singled and Dennis Anderson’s sacrifice bunt pushed him to second before scoring on Zech’s RBI-single to center field.
UCF took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Brown hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth and Timpner’s double to right plated Richmond who had reached on an error earlier in the ninth.
Matt DiBlasi (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season after giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits. DiBlasi also had two strikeouts,
Florida State and UCF will play one more game at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday with the winner advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals. The game will be televised live by Sunshine Network in Pensacola, Panama City, Tallahassee, Orlando (minus Ocala) and Miami.