East Carolina Invades Jay Bergman Field to Tangle with No. 19 UCF Baseball

March 27, 2008

ORLANDO - The home portion of UCF's Conference USA season kicks off this weekend when the No. 19 Knights welcome East Carolina to Orlando Friday-Sunday. Game one's first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. as head coach Jay Bergman will be honored beforehand for winning his 1,200th career game March 17. UCF Director of Athletics Keith R. Tribble will be on hand for the celebration.

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m.
East Carolina - 16-6 Overall, 1-2 Conference USA
No. 19 UCF - 21-4 Overall, 1-2 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
East Carolina leads, 9-3
740-AM and www.UCFAthletics.com
Live Stats:

Spring Radio Show is Back
The UCF spring radio show will be back on 740-AM starting Saturday at 5:30 p.m. before the Knights' game against East Carolina. Listen in as Marc Daniels, the Voice of the Knights, provides fans with the latest news regarding UCF sports, including in-depth comments from the head baseball coach Jay Bergman.

Upcoming Opponent
Off to an identical 1-2 start in league play, East Carolina has been on the cusp of the national rankings all season long and were No. 23 last weekend before dropping a home series to Houston. The Pirates were able to claim an 11-3 win over Campbell in their mid-week tilt for a 16-6 overall record. Center fielder Harrison Eldridge has been unstoppable at the plate, as the 2007 All-C-USA First Team member is hitting .429 with 20 stolen bases. ECU will go with the same rotation it used last weekend against Houston, with righthanders T.J. Hose (1-2, 7.94), Seth Maness (4-0, 3.21) and Justin Bristow (3-1, 2.70) all slated to start on the mound.

The Series
When UCF joined C-USA for the 2006 campaign, the Knights won their first game against East Carolina in Orlando. However, they have since dropped their last five outings, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Pirates in North Carolina a year ago. ECU currently owns a 9-3 all-time advantage over the Knights with the series dating back to 2002. At Jay Bergman Field, UCF is 3-3 vs. the Pirates with two victories coming in 2003.

UCF vs. FGCU Recap
Two runs in the first and five in the second enabled UCF to cruise past Florida Gulf Coast, 8-4, in the programs' first meeting on the diamond. Carmine Giardina matched a career-high with 6.0 innings and struck out eight for the win. Shane Brown and Dwayne Bailey busted out for three hits apiece, while Colin Arnold had a pair of doubles.

Changing it Up
For the first time all season, UCF made an important change on its lineup card when it traveled to Florida Gulf Coast for game No. 25 on the year. Tyson Auer moved from the No. 3 hole to the leadoff spot and Josh Siebenaler was penciled in at the No. 9 position. Dwayne Bailey batted in his typical No. 2 hole, but everyone else was moved up one spot in the order. The moves seemed to work as the Knights delivered with 15 hits in an 8-4 win against the Eagles.

Car No. 24 Runs Laps on FGCU
Carmine Giardina had his best outing of the season in his first start of 2008. Taking on Florida Gulf Coast March 26, the lefty tied a career-high with 6.0 innings and struck out eight to pick up the win. Giardina allowed just two runs and walked only one batter in his outing.

A Glimpse into the Future
UCF's 2009 recruiting class was ranked at No. 7 in the country by Perfect Game, the higest ranking under recruiting coordinator Craig Cozart. The position also was the highest of any C-USA program. The Knights signed 14 players for next season and all of them hail from the state of Florida.

Leading the Way in the NCAA
The first NCAA nationwide statistics were released Tuesday and UCF was in the top 10 in many categories. Based on statistics before Tuesday night's game against North Florida, Mitch Houck ranked first in the country in strikeouts per nine innings, Ryan Richardson was seventh in sacrifice flies, Dwayne Bailey was seventh in hits and Shane Brown was ninth in hit by pitches. Brown sat just outside the top 10, placing 18th in RBI, while Bailey was 16th in stolen bases. As a team, the Knights were first in the nation in stolen bases, sacrifice flies and strikeouts per nine innings.

Sitting Them Down the Easy Way
UCF pitchers have racked up 273 strikeouts this season, led by Mitch Houck's 39 Ks. In all, 12 different Knights have double-digit strikeout totals, as the staff is averaging 10.82 strikeouts per nine innings, which leads all of Division I.