Baseball Travels to LSU For First Road Trip of 2007

Feb. 22, 2007

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ORLANDO - With its eight-game home stand in the past, the UCF baseball team prepares for the first road trip of the season this weekend when it ventures to one of the toughest college baseball venues in the nation. The Knights will battle the LSU Tigers for three games, beginning with a Friday match-up at 8 p.m. ET.

LSU - 5-2 Overall, 0-0 SEC
UCF - 3-5 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA
Alex Box Stadium (7,760)
LSU leads, 11-3
Live Stats
All Three Games - www.UCFAthletics.com or www.LSUSports.net

Maryland at UCF Series Recap
Similar to the TCU series, UCF let Maryland jump out to big leads early Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 and the Terrapins hung on each time. But the Golden Knights clawed back to take the finale Feb. 18. After falling 16-4 and 9-7 in games one and two, UCF played virtually flawless baseball in a 4-3 win on the final day of the series. Jaager Good picked up the win, while Brian Brooks, Austin Hudson and Justin Weiss combined to pitch 3.1 scoreless innings out of the pen.

This Weekend's Opponent
LSU began the year on a high note, sweeping a three-game set vs. Saint Mary's (Calif.), but struggled at Stetson last weekend. The Hatters posted 8-1 and 14-1 victories to open the series, but the Tigers came back for an 8-4 win Feb. 18. LSU then defeated Northwestern State Feb. 21, 6-2, to bump its overall record to 5-2.

While Blake Dean is dominating at the plate with a .381 average, as a team the Tigers have a .215 mark with the stick. On the mound, four different student-athletes have earned at least one start, and all four have a victory. Jared Bradford leads the way with a 1.86 ERA, while Charlie Furbush has 11 strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched.

The Series
Even though it won the last meeting, UCF trails in the all-time series with LSU, 11-3. In 2004, the Tigers, ranked No. 2 at the time, won the first two games at Jay Bergman Field but dropped a 6-5 affair in 10 innings in the finale. The Golden Knights have never won (0-4) in Baton Rouge and have been outscored 49-10 in games played on LSU's home field.

Exactly What They Needed
Allowing a combined 25 runs in two games can hurt a pitching staff. But the Knights were able to recover from the first two games against Maryland to post a 4-3 win in the final outing Feb. 18. Jaager Good became the first UCF starter to record a win, going 5.2 innings and surrendering three runs. Brian Brooks then struck out two in 1.1 innings of relief, while Austin Hudson and Justin Weiss each struck out two in their respective inning on the hill. Weiss picked up his first career save, and the three relievers did not give up a hit to the Terrapins.

A Weekend to Remember
Although UCF lost to Maryland 9-7 Feb. 17, Kiko Vazquez was unstoppable. The sophomore first baseman went 4-for-5 with a solo homer and a grand slam vs. the Terrapins. His four hits tied a career high, while his six RBI set a personal best. It also was Vazquez's first collegiate multi-home run game.

The next day, Vazquez homered in his first at-bat to help the Knights prevail in the series finale, 4-3. In all, he completed the weekend with six hits, seven RBI and three dingers. In all, Vazquez had almost as many round-trippers in a two-day stretch as he did as a freshman last year (four homers in 2006).

Not a Friendly Area
The Southeastern Conference has not been very kind to UCF in the past. In all, the Knights have a winning record against only Alabama (5-4), and are 33-61-1 overall against the SEC.

Taking on The Pelican State
UCF has played seven different schools from the state of Louisiana, and has a 33-36 cumulative record. The Knights' best record is against Centenary at 14-3 (Both teams used to be in the Atlantic Sun).

Lengthy Battles
After a 2:49 affair in the season opener Feb. 3, the next six UCF games all went past the three-hour mark. The Golden Knights' longest game so far came against Maryland Feb. 16, a contest that lasted 3:31. The three-hour string ended when UCF played its shortest game since 2005 (2:04 - Belmont, April 17), a 2:05 contest vs. the Terrapins Feb. 18.

Getting into the Act
Freshman catcher Shane Brown had his first big night at the plate, going 2-for-3 against Maryland Feb. 16. He came on as a pinch-hitter and eventually scored a run and connected for his first collegiate double.

Great Crowds
At least 900 fans gathered for each game of the TCU series Feb. 9-11. In all, a combined 2,727 people ventured to Jay Bergman Field that weekend, marking the fifth-largest attendance for a baseball series ever at the ballpark.

The next weekend (Feb. 16-18), 2,360 witnessed UCF take on Maryland, which was the eighth-largest series in stadium history.