Baseball in Search Of A-Sun Championship No. 7

May 24, 2005

A-Sun Championship Game Notes in PDF Format
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ORLANDO - The winningest team in A-Sun Championship history, the UCF Golden Knights (40-16) look to capture their seventh Atlantic Sun Championship title this week in DeLand.

The Golden Knights are the No. 3 seed in the A-Sun Championship and face No. 4 seed Stetson Wednesday night at 7 p.m. For the second time in school history, UCF enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed and the first-round meeting with Stetson marks just the second time the two A-Sun rivals have met in the opening round of play.

UCF captured the season series from the Hatters with two wins in DeLand earlier in the season. After Stetson won the series opener 10-4 on April 1, the Golden Knights rolled to an 18-11 victory on April 2 and a 14-7 win on Sun Sports in the series finale April 3. In all, UCF has won five of its last seven games vs. Stetson.

All of UCF's games in the A-Sun Championship will air on the UCF ISP Sports Network. Any game that starts prior to 3 p.m. will be an Internet only broadcast on ucfathletics.com. Wednesday's game will air at 6:45 p.m. with the voice of the Golden Knights, Marc Daniels.

A-Sun Tournament Facts
UCF owns the top winning percentage and the most tournament titles of any A-Sun school entering this week's tournament. The Golden Knights boast an A-Sun Championship winning percentage of .729 (27-10), more than 100 points better than the next closest opponent.

UCF's six league championship tournament trophies also lead the league. UCF has captured the tournament title in 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002. The five other schools competing in this week's A-Sun Championship have combined to win just five titles (FAU 2004, Stetson 1988, 1989, 1990, 2000).

Melching Magic
UCF is 15-4 all-time at Melching Field at Conrad Park, including a 6-2 mark in tournament play. The Golden Knights won the 2002 A-Sun Tournament Title at Melching Field. UCF finished 2-1 at Melching this season, scoring 36 runs in the three-game series.

Stetson Hospitality
UCF has taken full advantage of when Stetson has hosted the A-Sun Tournament. The Golden Knights are an amazing 17-3 all-time when Stetson has hosted the tournament, including titles in 2002, 1997, 1996 and 1993.

Another 40-Win Campaign
For the 15th time under the legendary tenure of head coach Jay Bergman, UCF captured a 40-win season with its 5-4 win at Mercer. The 40-win season marked the fifth time in six years UCF has reached the 40-win mark.

UCF vs. the A-Sun Tourney Teams
UCF is 15-4 all-time in A-Sun Tournament play vs. the five other teams in this year's championship.

The Golden Knights are a perfect 6-0 all-time vs. Stetson in A-Sun Tournament action.

In A-Sun Tournament Games W-Lvs. Troy 2-2vs. Florida Atlantic 6-1vs. Stetson 6-0vs. Georgia State 0-1vs. Gardner-Webb 1-0Total 15-4 (.789)

Off to the Races
UCF has stolen 140 bases in 173 attempts, the sixth-highest total in the nation as of May 15. The 140 stolen bases are the third-highest total in UCF single-season history.

Last season, UCF swiped 111 bags to tie for sixth in the UCF single-season annals. The Golden Knights led the NCAA in 1985 with 253 stolen bases.

What a Difference Bernie Makes
UCF head coach Jay Bergman moved Marshall Bernhard to shortstop prior to the Lipscomb series. Since that move, UCF has a fielding percentage of .977 when Bernhard is at shortstop. In the 35 games prior to Bernhard playing shortstop, UCF's team fielding percentage was .956.

The New UCF Hit King
Dee Brown became UCF's all-time career leader in hits and RBI in the Mercer series (May 19-21). The senior left fielder has 294 hits and 227 RBI over his standout, four-year career.

Brown also ranks third in A-Sun history in RBI and fifth in hits. With just six more hits, Brown will become just the fifth player in A-Sun history to reach the 300-hit plateau.

Brown broke a 22-year-old record for career hits at UCF, breaking the mark set by Tim Foskett (1980-83) of 289 hits.

Dee Claims UCF Home Run Crown
Dee Brown established a single-season home run record at UCF with his 18th homer of the season in the Mercer series. Brown broke Dustin Brisson's record of 17 home runs, set in 1999.

Even more amazing, Brown went from hitting just three home runs in 2004 to 18 in 2005. He ranks sixth in school history with 26 career jacks.

Drew Butera is one of 10 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the nation's top collegiate catcher.

Butera Semifinalist for Bench Award
Drew Butera was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2005 Johnny Bench Award announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Thirty-seven catchers from 16 conferences were nominated for the award by their coaches.

The finalists will be announced on June 1, prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 8th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 29, 2005.

Not So Fast My Friend The Golden Knights have been even more impressive in shutting down an opponent's running game. UCF has yielded just 38 stolen bases in 65 attempts on the year, thanks in large part to Drew Butera. Butera, one of the top defensive catchers in the nation, has thrown out 23-of-52 would-be base stealers on the season. Butera held the nation's leader in steals - Adam Godwin of Troy - without a stolen base in three games at Troy. Godwin was 0-for-2 vs. Butera. Butera was only the second catcher in 2005 to throw out Godwin at second base. Butera also caught Godwin attempting to steal third.

Return of the Long Ball
After hitting just 27 home runs in 65 games in 2004, UCF has hit 63 home runs in 56 games in 2005. The 63 home runs are the most by UCF since 2001, when the Golden Knights blasted 62 home runs. Since the 2001 season, UCF hit just 27 homers in 65 games a year ago, 21 home runs in 56 games in 2003 and 30 home runs in 63 games in 2002.

The 63 homers are tied for second in single-season history at UCF. The 1998 club totaled a season-best 66 home runs in 62 games.

You Can Put it on the Board, YES!
UCF tied a school record with seven home runs in a 19-8 rout of Troy May 6. The seven long balls equaled the mark set against Florida Memorial in 1979, when UCF also hit seven homers in a 27-1 victory.

Series History vs. A-Sun Field
Below is UCF's all-time record vs. each of the five teams UCF will compete against in the 2005 A-Sun Baseball Championship.

Opponent W-LTroy 16-9Florida Atlantic 37-23Stetson 59-43Georgia State 19-5Gardner-Webb 7-3Total 138-83 (.624)

UCF has more A-Sun Tournament Titles than any other school with six.

On the Hill for UCF
Junior right-hander Ray Rodriguez will start Wednesday's game vs. Stetson. The New York native leads UCF with a 6-1 record and team-best 2.59 ERA in 17 appearances, including nine starts in 2005. In 62.2 innings of work, Rodriguez has yielded just 44 hits and opponents are batting just .192 vs. the right-hander. Rodriguez is third on the team with 62 strikeouts.

Rodriguez pitched well vs. Stetson in the regular season. In one appearance, he pitched 4.0 innings to earn the save in the third game of the series. He limited Stetson to just one run on two hits with six strikeouts. Stetson batted just .143 vs. Rodriguez.

Brown, Howell Set HR Mark
Dee Brown and John-Michael Howell are the top home run hitting duo in single-season history at UCF. The two have combined for 33 home runs in 2005, breaking the old mark of 30 set by Dustin Brisson (17) and Matt Bowser (13) in 1999.

Spreading the Wealth
The Golden Knights have eight players with 20 or more RBI, including Dee Brown with 69 and John-Michael Howell with 54. Joining Brown and Howell include Marshall Bernhard (39), Ryan Bono (42), Drew Butera (38), Matt Ray (39), Kevin Richmond (25) and Matt Horwath (34).

Multi-Home Run Games
Dee Brown became the first UCF player since Jeremy Frost in 2002 to hit two home runs in a game earlier in the season vs. Lipscomb. Brown has hit two homers in a game five times in 2005.