Baseball Puts Five-Game Winning Streak on the Line vs. Siena This Weekend

March 14, 2008

ORLANDO - A very active schedule is lined up for the No. 20 UCF baseball team, as the Knights will play six games in five days and nine contests in nine days beginning with a doubleheader vs. Siena Saturday at Jay Bergman Field. Game one is slated for 1 p.m., while the nightcap is set for 6:30 p.m. Separate tickets are required to attend both outings.

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Saturday - 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. (Separate ticket required)
Sunday - 1 p.m.
Siena - 1-9 Overall, 0-0 MAAC
No. 20 UCF - 13-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
UCF leads, 25-3
Live Stats:

Upcoming Opponent
Siena (1-9) has played a difficult schedule so far in 2008. The Saints were swept at Florida to open the season, dropped a game to Cornell, then lost two to No. 16 Virginia. They got into the win column by bouncing back for an 8-5 win over Cornell, but suffered three more losses at No. 28 Arkansas last weekend. Nick Messinger (.400), Jacob Willis (.368) and Jason DeFilippo (.357) all have batting averages above the .300 mark, while the pitching staff claims a 9.44 ERA, walking 61 batters and striking out 37 in 82.0 innings.

The Series
UCF owns a convincing 25-3 lead in the series vs. Siena, with the two programs meeting recently in both the 2005 and 2006 seasons (UCF went 6-1). The series dates all of the way to 1977, where the Saints picked up a 6-4 win.

UCF vs. Stetson - Recap
The Knights never trailed at Stetson March 12 en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hatters. With a slim 4-3 lead, UCF scored once in the eighth and twice in the ninth to seal the win, as Dwayne Bailey and Tyson Auer each had three hits. Caleb Graham struck out a career-high eight in 4.0 innings.

A Look at UCF's Victories
So far in 2008, UCF has played and defeated four different teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago: Missouri 1-0, Monmouth 3-0, Stetson 1-0 and Jacksonville 1-1.

Approaching a Conference USA Mark
The 13-1 start for the Knights ties for the second best beginning to a season in Conference USA history (of one-loss teams). Tulane sits atop the chart when it went 14-1 to open the 2005 season.

No Free Passes Here
As a staff, UCF has a 3.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (161-52), with Mitch Houck leading the way with an 8.7 ratio to his credit. Evan Stobbs, meanwhile, has an 8.0 mark, while Cody Allen sits with a 7.5 ratio.

A Pitching Rarity
Mitch Houck, Matt Goodyear and Matt Manning all pitched vs. Pittsburgh March 11 in an 8-2 victory. What made it odd was that all 27 outs recorded by the Panthers were either by strikeout, groundout, caught stealing or pick off. No outs came by way of the fly ball.

Finding a Rhythm
Redshirt sophomore Mitch Houck has made back-to-back starts of 6.0 innings, and combined to strike out 21 batters against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, including a career-high 12-K performance vs. the Panthers. For the season, the lefty has fanned 26 in 15.2 innings, all while walking just three.

Timmy's First Seals the W
With UCF ahead 4-1 early against Pittsburgh, senior Tim Russell picked a perfect time to deliver with his first D-I homer. On a 1-0 pitch from Hugh Henry, the designated hitter drove a two-run job over the right-field fence which helped put the game out of reach at 6-1 (UCF won, 8-2).

Numbers Do Not Lie
It may be easy to determine why UCF is off to a quick start in 2008. Let's take a look at some comparisons between the Knights and their opponents:
Batting Average - UCF .339, Opponents .241
Runs - UCF 126, Opponents 51
Extra-Base Hits - UCF 45, Opponents 20
Fielding Percentage - UCF .970, Opponents .935
ERA - UCF 3.12, Opponents 7.45
Pitchers' Strikeouts - UCF 161, Opponents 84

16 Innings Provides Lots of Random Notes
Here are just some of the highlights from UCF's 5-4 16-inning win over Monmouth March 9:
-The 16 innings were one shy of matching the longest game in UCF history, a 17-inning affair vs. Rollins in 1982.
- The game tied for fourth-longest in C-USA history.
- Eric Kallstrom tied a school record with eight at-bats (Jay Bergman, Jr.).
- UCF had 56 at-bats, which also matched a school record.
- It was the third-straight series sweep for UCF.
- Justin Weiss equaled a career-high with 4.0 innings pitched, and did not give up a run.
- 1B Shane Brown set a UCF single-game record with 19 putouts.