Final Non-Conference Series Awaits Baseball When it Hosts Rutgers This Weekend

March 15, 2007

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ORLANDO - UCF's final non-conference weekend series gets underway Friday when it welcomes Rutgers for three games at Jay Bergman Field. Saturday marks St. Patrick's Day, and fans who purchase advance tickets to the baseball game can get into the softball doubleheader that afternoon for free. Meanwhile, those with softball tickets can head over to the Berg for a free night of baseball, and if fans wear green to the games they may receive $2 off their ticket purchase.

Rutgers - 6-8 Overall, 0-0 Big East
UCF - 12-9 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
UCF leads, 6-3
Live Stats
UCF Ticket Office - (407) UCF-1000

Army at UCF Recap
Early in the season, UCF was prone to giving up a big mark in the first few innings. But the Golden Knights turned the table March 13 vs. Army, scoring four in the first and three in the second en route to a 12-4 victory. Brett Bordwine got the win on the mound, and eight of UCF starters posted at least one hit apiece.

This Weekend's Opponent
Rutgers opened the season with a 4-1 record, posting at least eight runs in all four of those victories. Since then, the Scarlet Knights have gone 2-7, including a win over then-No. 14 Georgia Tech, but four of those losses have been by one or two runs. Last weekend, Rutgers went 1-2 at Florida International, and is coming off losses at Florida Atlantic and Miami during the week.

Offensively, Rutgers has five batters with a batting average over .300, led by Dave Williams' .411 mark. Todd Frazier (.393) and Ryan Hill (.382) have both been tearing it up, combining for 12 homers and 29 RBI. The Scarlet Knights' pitching staff has a 6.03 ERA and has walked 63 batters compared to striking out 83.

The Series
UCF and Rutgers met three times over a four-year stretch, with the Golden Knights claiming each three-game series, 2-1. The Scarlet Knights posted victories in game one in 1994 and 1996 only to see the Black and Gold notch the win in the final two outings each year. In 1997, UCF won the first two games but saw Rutgers prevent the sweep in the finale.

Oh, What a Knight
The sound of aluminum rung out across Jay Bergman Field in a 12-4 win over Army March 13. In recording it highest run total of the season, eight of UCF's nine starters posted at least one hit. Leading the way, Tyson Auer went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Kiko Vazquez and Chris Duffy each had two hits as the Golden Knights racked up 12 for the game.

Taking Care of Business
While making just two appearances before earning his first start of the year against Northeastern March 7, Brett Bordwine turned it into one of his best games of his career. The righty easily set a career-high with 14 strikeouts and matched his longest outing by pitching 6.2 scoreless innings. Bordwine gave up two walks to open the game, but those were the only free passes he issued, as at one point he fanned six-straight batters on strikes.

Bordwine followed that up with his second-straight weekday start, and notched the victory by going 6.0 innings against Army March 13, striking out four in the process.

Turning it On at the Right Time
Dating back to 2003, in the weekend series (at least three games against the same team) just before the conference opener, UCF has a winning record each year. Here's a rundown of the last four seasons of how the Knights have fared:
2003 - 4-0 vs. Monmouth
2004 - 3-0 vs. Monmouth
2005 - 3-1 vs. Siena
2006 - 2-1 vs. TCU

Good n' Plenty
Junior righty Jaager Good, in just six appearances in 2007, has set career-highs this year with 27.1 innings pitched and 15 strikeouts. Good came out of the pen in the first game of the season, but has since made five starts for the Knights. He had his best game in a UCF uniform when he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings against UMass March 11), earning the win by giving up just three hits.

The UCF Power Combo, With a Side of RBI
Sophomore Kiko Vazquez and freshman Chris Duffy could not be contained during UCF's perfect 5-0 week from March 6-11. Vazquez went 7-for-14 (.500) with nine RBI and a 1.000 slugging percentage, while also stealing his first career base en route to being named the C-USA Player of the Week. Duffy was 7-for-11 (.636) even though he sat out a game, and had a .909 slugging percentage. Each posted a home run, with Duffy's being his first collegiate dinger (vs. UMass, March 11).

Having Patience
Through the first seven games of the season, the Knights' offense had double-figure strikeouts four times. However, they have now gone 14-straight outings without reaching 10 or more.

A Houck Delight
Mitch Houck cruised through Massachusetts March 10, going 7.0 innings and limiting the Minutemen to one run on three hits to earn the win. The sophomore lefty struck out 10 batters, one shy of his career-high.

The Four Tops
Four strikeouts in an inning. It seems impossible, yet Mitch Houck accomplished that feat March 10 vs. Massachusetts. In the top of the third, the lefty struck out Mike Donato and got Travis Munsey to swing at strike three as well. But Munsey got aboard as the ball was in the dirt. After a balk, Ryan Franczek went down looking and Bill Ranking sat down on strikes to become Houck's fourth victim of the frame.

Massachusetts Does Not Touch the Hudson, Austin Hudson That Is
In anyone's first collegiate start, nerves could be a factor in a player's performance. For freshman Austin Hudson, he looked like a veteran on the hill against Massachusetts March 9. The righty struck out six in 6.0 innings of work to notch his first collegiate victory. Hudson allowed only four hits while not walking a single batter.

Opponents Not Liking the Kiko Puffs...
As a freshman last season, Kiko Vazquez completed the year with 21 RBI. So far in 2007, the first baseman has 24 RBI in just 21 games. He also has matched his home run total from a season ago (four).

...Nor the Weiss Krispies
Closer Justin Weiss has taken his new roll in stride this year. The sophomore made just four appearances last season, but already has seen time in seven games with four saves in 2007. Weiss has not given up an earned run in six of seven showings on the mound, and with two more saves, he will crack the top 10 on UCF's single-season list.

Tying a Couple of Marks
Thanks to Brett Bordwine and Eric English combining to strike out 18 batters against Northeastern March 7, Brandon Romans was a huge beneficiary. The UCF catcher tied a school record with 18 putouts in the game, a mark that had only been accomplished three times before the win over the Huskies. The 18 Ks also tied a school record for most in a game by UCF pitchers, which has now been done five different times, twice by multiple hurlers and three times by just one pitcher.