No. 30 Baseball Hosts Florida A&M, No. 20 Notre Dame

Feb. 17, 2005

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ORLANDO - No. 30 UCF hosts Florida A&M and No. 20 Notre Dame this weekend at Jay Bergman Field. The Golden Knights (5-1) face Florida A&M Friday evening at 6 p.m. before hosting the Fighting Irish Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Florida A&M and Notre Dame also face each other Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.

The Florida A&M game will air live on ucfathletics.com while both games of the Notre Dame series are on the UCF ISP Sports Network (740-AM The Team).

The Century Mark
UCF is in its fifth season in Jay Bergman Field and the Golden Knights have played excellent baseball since the state-of-the-art facility has opened.

UCF is 102-36 (.739) all-time in the ballpark, after last season's 24-7 mark at home.

Best Start since `01
UCF's 5-1 record to begin the season is the best start since 2001 for the Golden Knights. UCF opened the 2001 campaign 6-1 en route to a 50-win season (51-14).

Inside the Florida A&M Series
UCF meets in-state foe Florida A&M Friday for the 14th time in school history. The two teams have not met since the 2003 season, when UCF lost 12-11 in Tallahassee.

UCF leads the all-time series 10-2-1. The Rattlers have not played at UCF since the 1994 season, when they lost 14-3 and 10-2 in a two-game series.

Inside the Notre Dame Series
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 3-2 after last season's two-game sweep of the Golden Knights in South Bend, Ind.

Notre Dame visits UCF for the first time since 1979 with the two games this weekend. The last time Notre Dame played at UCF, the Golden Knights 10-3 and 6-2 in Orlando.

Notre Dame has won the last three games in the series, including a 1993 meeting in the NCAA Tournament (12-3 ND victory).

Success in the Sunshine State
UCF had the third-highest total of victories vs. Florida schools in 2004. The Golden Knights were 14-8 vs. Florida competition, just two wins behind Florida Atlantic and one victory shy of Miami's win total.

Records vs. Florida schools
Rk. Team Record Win Pct.1. Florida Atlantic 16-6 .7272. Miami 15-6 .7143. UCF 14-8 .6364. Florida State 10-7 .5885. Stetson 10-12 .4546. Jacksonville 12-16 .4287. USF 9-4 .6928. Florida Intl. 6-9 .4009. Florida 5-5 .50010. B-CC 4-16 .20011. Florida A&M 3-16 .157

Scouting the Rattlers
Florida A&M is 0-10 to start the 2005 season after Tuesday's 17-2 loss at Florida. The Rattlers have been outscored 91-20 in the 10 defeats.

FAMU is hitting .171 as a team entering Friday's game vs. Notre Dame. The Rattlers have just one player batting above .300. Jermaine Jefferson leads FAMU with a .571 batting average. Jefferson has four hits in just seven at-bats.

On the mound, FAMU owns a team ERA of 7.22. One bright spot has been junior left-hander Nemi Adoki. Adoki is 0-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three appearances. In 7.2 innings of work, Adoki has yielded six hits with eight strikeouts.

Scouting the Fighting Irish
Notre Dame opens the 2005 season Friday vs. Florida A&M at Jay Bergman Field. The Fighting Irish welcome back 20 letterwinners from last season's 51-12 club that went 2-2 in the NCAA South Bend Regional.

Notre Dame is ranked in all three collegiate baseball polls, including a No. 20 ranking by Collegiate Baseball and No. 22 by Baseball America and the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll.

The Fighting Irish are scheduled to pitch junior left-hander Tom Thornton in game one of the UCF series and sophomore right-hander Jess Stewart Sunday vs. the Golden Knights.

Thornton is Notre Dame's top returning starter, after finishing 2004 with a 9-2 record and 3.88 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts. The Massachusetts native was a preseason all-BIG EAST selection by both the league's head coaches and Baseball America.

Stewart was an impressive 7-1 in 12 games including eight starts during the 2004 season. The Virginia product totaled 40.0 innings pitched, and allowed 41 hits with 20 strikeouts and a 3.39 ERA on the season. In a planned rotation vs. UCF last season, Stewart tossed five innings of shutout baseball vs. the Golden Knights with two hits allowed and three strikeouts for the win.

Notre Dame has four Floridians on its roster. Ross Brezovsky (Naples), Wade Korpi (Lake Worth), Matt Whittington (Melbourne) and Joey Williamson (Lantana) all hail from the Sunshine State.

Notre Dame is under the leadership of Paul Mainieri. Now in his 11th season at Notre Dame. Mainieri has guided the Irish into one of the premier college baseball programs. Mainieri led Notre Dame to the 2002 College World Series and in 2003 the Irish became the first back-to-back BIG EAST Tournament Champions since 1986.

Notre Dame Connection
UCF athletics director Steve Orsini earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame and also played football for the Fighting Irish. Orsini was a fullback from 1975-77 for Notre Dame and was a captain on the 1977 National Championship team for the Irish.

Two of the Nation's Elite
Notre Dame and UCF finished ninth and 11th nationally in ERA in 2004. The Fighting Irish held a team ERA of 3.36 in 63 games in 2004 while UCF owned a team mark of 3.42 in 65 games.

From the Hoosier State
UCF has two Indiana natives on its 2005 baseball roster. Dave and Matt Lambert of Chesteron, Indiana and Chesteron High School both hail from the Hoosier state. Dave, the older of the two Lambert brothers, is a junior while Matt is in his first season with the Black & Gold.

On the Hill for UCF ...
UCF is scheduled to start three right-handers this weekend vs. Florida A&M and Notre Dame. On Friday evening, senior right-hander Darren Newlin faces his hometown university. The Tallahassee native is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA on the season after pitching 5.0 innings for the win vs. Bethune-Cookman. Newlin struck out six and walked one batter while yielding one run vs. the Wildcats in the 7-1 UCF win.

Junior Mike Billek takes the hill Saturday vs. the Fighting Irish. The 6-4 right-hander is 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts in 2005. In 11.1 innings, Billek has given up 13 hits, six earned runs with 10 strikeouts and just three walks.

Sophomore Tim Bascom gets the starting nod Sunday. Bascom has been UCF's most dominant starter on the young season, going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts. In 12.2 innings of work, Bascom has yielded just seven hits, four earned runs with 11 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .163 vs. the Dunedin native.