May 16, 2012
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By Eric DeSalvo
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The biggest series in Conference USA history for the No. 13 UCF baseball team is set to begin Thursday night when No. 4 Rice travels to Orlando for the winner-take-all three-game set.
A lot is on the line when the Knights (40-12, 15-6) and Owls (37-14, 15-6) take the field Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. With both teams tied for first place, the regular season championship is up for grabs as is the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Tournament next week in Pearl, Miss.
With a school-record 15 wins in league play already under their belts, the Knights will aim for their first regular season title in C-USA, and fifth in program history since beginning play in 1973.
UCF supporters and baseball fans in Orlando are encouraged to watch all three games at one low price by purchasing the "Triple Play" ticket package that features a free mini bat. For more ticket information, call (407) 823-1000.
This is the fourth trip to Orlando for the Owls in six years. The Knights faced the team from Houston at home when they were nationally ranked in 2006 (No. 1) and 2008 (No. 4). Last year on the road, UCF captured two of three from Rice to open C-USA play.
Taking the mound for the Knights this weekend will be lefty Chris Matulis and righty Ben Lively. The duo has combined for 14 wins this season and each sport ERAs under three. Matulis will draw senior Matthew Reckling who is tied with Lively for the league lead in wins (8).
Austin Kubitza and Lively will go head-to-head on Friday. The talented pair of sophomores faced off in Houston last year with Lively tossing 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball to secure the win. Saturday's starters are to be determined for both squads.
Probable Starters (UCF first)
Thursday: LHP Chris Matulis (6-0, 2.73 ERA) vs. RHP Matthew Reckling (8-1, 2.45 ERA)
Friday: RHP Ben Lively (8-1, 2.97 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Kubitza (5-3, 3.22 ERA)
Saturday: TBD vs. TBD