Baseball Opens Practice for 2005 Season

Jan. 10, 2005

ORLANDO - The UCF baseball team officially opens practice for the 2005 season today at 3 p.m. at Jay Bergman Field. The Golden Knights are ranked No. 24 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason top 40 poll after finishing last season 47-18. The 47 wins marked the fourth highest single-season total in school history as UCF advanced to the regional championship game.

"We are very excited for the first day of practice," recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Craig Cozart commented. "The players worked hard all fall and the guys for the most part returned in good shape."

Baseball America released its 2005 A-Sun predictions Monday, with UCF slated to finish second in the league. Three Golden Knights were named preseason all-conference according to Baseball America. Senior left fielder Dee Brown, sophomore right-handed pitcher Taylor Meier and junior catcher Drew Butera all garnered preseason all-conference merit.

Butera hit .282 with one home run and 32 RBI in 2004 while Brown led UCF with a .373 batting average and was the top RBI producer in the A-Sun with 68.

Butera was listed as the A-Sun's second-rated prospect for the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft while Brown was the 10th ranked prospect in the A-Sun.

Butera was also noted as the best defensive catcher in the league and the catcher with the best arm while Brown was voted as the league's best pure hitter, according to Baseball America.

Sophomore Matt Ray was tabbed as the A-Sun's top defensive second baseman and best base runner. Ray will move to shortstop in 2005 for the Golden Knights as LSU transfer Matt Horwath is listed as the starter at second for UCF entering the season. Horwath was rated the third-best newcomer in the league by Baseball America.

The Golden Knights open the 2005 season Saturday, February 5 vs. Florida International at Jay Bergman Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. in Orlando.