UCF Hosts In-State Rival USF Tuesday in Bulls' Only Visit to Orlando This Year

April 23, 2007

ORLANDO - A five-game homestand, the longest that is left on the 2007 schedule, gets underway Tuesday when the UCF baseball team hosts USF at 6:30 p.m. The Knights are 14-8 this season in non-conference home games, but have dropped two meetings to the Bulls this year, both in Tampa.

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USF - 27-15 Overall, 9-9 Big East
UCF - 18-23 Overall, 1-11 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
USF leads, 49-46
740-AM The Team and www.UCFAthletics.com
Live Stats
(407) UCF-1000

This Week's Opponent
Following last week's 10-5 win over UCF, USF suffered a Big East sweep at the hands of Rutgers over the weekend in Tampa. The Bulls now own a 27-15 record and are 6-5 in road games in 2007. Walter Diaz continues to pace the offense with a .389 average and a .480 slugging percentage. Daryl Lewis is scheduled to make his first collegiate start, and brings with him a 13.50 ERA in 5.1 innings.

The Series
Thanks to two wins earlier in 2007, USF claims a 49-46 all-time advantage over UCF. While the Knights are 8-7 in the last 15 games in Orlando, the Bulls won both meetings in 2006 at Jay Bergman Field.

UCF at Rice Recap - April 22
Rice used three different pitchers to limit UCF to just one hit in a 8-0 victory April 22. Sophomore Eric English posted his longest collegiate outing, going 5.1 innings with five strikeouts for the Knights' staff. Kiko Vazquez recorded the lone UCF hit.

UCF at Rice Recap - April 21
UCF was in a groove through the first five and a half innings, holding a 2-0 advantage before Rice strode to the plate in the sixth. Three batters later and the Owls stole momentum, and the game, in a 4-2 Rice victory as Aaron Luna smacked a three-run homer to right. With the exception of the first dinger he gave up all season, Kyle Sweat had another solid outing, going 6.0 innings and struck out three.

UCF at Rice Recap - April 20
Two big innings were all Rice needed in a 10-1 victory over UCF April 20. The Owls scored five in both the third and seventh innings, while edging the Knights in the hit category, 10-9. Tyson Auer, Dwayne Bailey and Eric Kallstrom paced the UCF offense with two hits apiece.

The Streak Concludes
Tyson Auer had his UCF season-high 15-game hitting streak come to a halt April 22 at Rice. Over that stretch, though, the junior was 24-for-67 (.358) with eight RBI. The following is the top Golden Knight hitting streaks from each of the last five seasons:

2007 - 15 - Tyson Auer - March 24-April 21 2006 - 9 - Ryan Bono - April 9-23 2005 - 14 - Drew Butera - April 19-May 13 2004 - 19 - Clay Timpner - Feb. 13-March 17 2003 - 19 - Ryan Bear - March 1-29="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://ucfknights.com/http:%3E%3C/pre%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%3Cp%3E%3Cstrong%3EMore%20With%20No.%203%3C/strong%3E%3Cbr%3E%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Along%20with%20his%2015-game%20hitting%20streak,%20%3Ca%20href="/roster.aspx?rp_id=2375" class="imported_story_link" oldlink="/sports/m-basebl/mtt/auer_tyson00.html">Tyson Auer has at least one hit in 21 of his last 23 outings dating back to March 10. He also has made the most of his move to the No. 3 hole in the order. Since switching from the leadoff spot before game one of a twin-bill at UAB March 31, the center fielder has gone 18-for-47 (.383).

Heat of the Moment
Three Knights have fared pretty well in pinch-hitting situations this season. Shane Brown leads the way with four hits in 12 at-bats, Matt Horwath is a perfect 3-for-3 off the bench and Tim Russell also has three hits in 10 at-bats.

I Just Called to Say I Caught You
Catchers Steve Stropp and Brandon Romans have both thrown out six would-be basestealers this season, while Shane Brown has three to his credit. Runners have also had a tough time when Mitch Houck, Carmine Giardina or Matt McClung is on the hill as they have been caught stealing three times against each pitcher.

Everyday I Write the Brooks
With a relief outing at Rice April 20, senior Brian Brooks claimed sole possession of fourth on the UCF all-time list for career appearances with 77. One more will move the lefty into a tie for third with Zach Sutton.

A Little Golf Won't Hurt
Almost every season, UCF enjoys a decent-sized break during the year. In 2007, it was able to take advantage of having a full week off between games by hosting the UCF Baseball Golf Classic at Shingle Creek Golf Club April 14. The annual alumni game was slated for the following afternoon but was unfortunately rained out. Next year's alumni weekend is temporarily scheduled for February.

One Night in Gainesville
UCF might not have faced No. 17 Florida at the perfect time since the Gators were coming off wins over No. 1 Florida State and No. 4 South Carolina, but the Knights were backed by Kyle Sweat's dazzling performance on the mound en route to a 6-2 victory April 10. The right-hander matched his career-high with 8.0 innings of work, as it was Sweat's second-straight start where he finished eight innings on the hill (Harvard, March 26). He is the only UCF pitcher this year to last 8.0 in a game. Sweat's outing earned him Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honors for the first time in his career.

In the win against Harvard, the Apopka, Fla., native set a career-high with six strikeouts en route to defeating the Crimson, 7-3. Sweat surrendered only two runs on six hits and two walks.

Kiko Rolling
Kiko Vazquez has already eclipsed some of his statistical marks he set in 54 games as a freshman last year, and is still searching for more. Let's compare his numbers from this year with those from 2006:

Category 2007 2006 Average .317 .247 Hits 44 42 Doubles 10 11 Triples 1 0 Home Runs 5 4 RBI 30 21

Dwayne Inflicting Some Pain
Junior Dwayne Bailey, who transfered from South Florida CC after last season, broke out against Florida April 10. The second baseman collected a season-high three hits vs. the Gators. Bailey got the third inning going with a one-out double and came around to score on a Tyson Auer base hit. The Tampa native then singled in the fifth and notched a RBI base hit in the sixth.

Unfriendly Visitors
Even though Florida consistently has a home record over .700 each season, UCF has loved traveling to Gainesville recently. The Knights moved to 3-1 in last four games at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium with a 6-2 upset April 10, and now have eight victories in 19 total outings in Gainesville.

The Wrath of Horwath
Matt Horwath was written into the top spot of the order before game one of a doubleheader at UAB March 31 and went on to go 9-for-21 (429) while extending his hitting streak to eight games. That stretch did come to a close at Florida April 10, but he still notched two hits and scored a run in the next game at USF April 17. Horwath has been serving mostly as the UCF designated hitter, as well as seeing time at third base.

The Good News
Junior righty Jaager Good has been as steady as they come for the Knights' pitching staff, as he has a team-high 59.2 innings pitched and 42 strikeouts. Good came out of the pen in the first game of the season, but has since made 10 starts for the Knights. He had his best game in a UCF uniform when he pitched 7.2 scoreless innings against Rutgers March 18, earning the win by giving up just two hits and striking out 10. Good then got his first Friday night start April 6 vs. Southern Miss and proceeded to shut down the Golden Eagles by tossing 6.0 shutout innings with six punch-outs.