Baseball Opens Second-Half of C-USA Season at Marshall

April 18, 2008

ORLANDO - UCF baseball begins its second half of the Conference USA season this weekend with a trip to Marshall Friday-Sunday. The series will kick off with game one Friday at 7 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va.

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - 7 p.m.
Saturday - 1 p.m.
Sunday - 10 a.m.
UCF - 26-13 Overall, 4-8 Conference USA
Marshall - 16-19-1 Overall, 4-7-1 Conference USA
Appalachian Power Park (4,500)
UCF leads, 4-2
Live Stats:

Upcoming Opponent
With a 4-7-1 C-USA record, Marshall has been a tough team to contend with throughout the season, especially for league foes. After opening with three losses to Rice, the Thundering Herd swept Memphis, went 1-1-1 at Tulane and were swept by East Carolina. However, ECU only outscored Marshall be a combined five runs. Nate Lape leads the offense with a .402 average and 11 homers, while Adam Yeager has swiped 25 bases. All three starting pitchers claim an ERA under 5.00, but none of them have posted over 40 strikeouts.

The Series
Appalachian Power Park was the site of UCF's first Conference USA game in 2006, and the Knights crushed the Herd in an 18-1 decision. The Knights now claim a 4-2 vs. Marshall as they have taken two of three in each of the last two seasons.

UCF vs. North Florida Recap
North Florida broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning to defeat UCF 5-3, April 15 in Jacksonville. Mitch Herold went 7.0 innings with seven strikeouts, while Brandon Romans, Evan Stobbs and Tyson Auer all had two hits apiece in the loss.

Conference Leaders
UCF continues to pace Conference USA in numerous categories. Individually, Dwayne Bailey ranks first with 60 hits and Mitch Houck has six pickoffs to also lead the league. As a team, the Knights are first in hits (433), hit by pitches (54), sac flies (26) and pitchers' strikeouts (400).

Attendance at The Berg Continues to Climb
UCF is averaging 1,022 fans per game this year at Jay Bergman Field, as 29,656 have attended 29 home dates in 2008. If the trend continues, the Knights will easily set a new attendance record, breaking the average of 911 set in 2001. Last year, 30,598 fans entered the gates of The Berg for an average of 849 per game.

This year's biggest series was when a total of 3,709 fans flocked to Jay Bergman Field for the East Carolina series, which ranked as the third-largest attended series in stadium history. The crowd of 1,490 for game two stands as the 11th largest at The Berg.

And a standing-room only crowd of 2,397 witnessed the Knights clash with the Bulls April 1, breaking the old attendance record by 227 (opening day 2001). It was just the second time more than 2,000 fans took in a ballgame at UCF.

Making the Most of the Opportunity
Freshman Evan Stobbs was one of UCF's top hitters in preseason practices, and now that he has gotten a chance to put his bat to work he has taken advantage. The right-handed hitter has started six games since April 6, three at first base and three as the designated hitter, and has gone 12-for-25 with 11 RBI, seven runs scored, a double and two homers.

Stobbs now has a .405 season average with a .622 slugging percentage. In Conference USA games, Stobbs has made just four starts but still leads the Knights with a .556 average, two homers and 11 RBI.

Finally, a Little Time to Rest
This week marks the first time since Feb. 25-March 2 that the UCF baseball team will not play at least five games in a week. However, the Knights will have four road games on tap this week before having four-straight days without a game April 21-24.

It Takes Two Does Not Ring True for Memphis
Two hits was all Memphis could muster in a 10-4 UCF win April 13. Carmine Giardina got the start and proceeded to go 6.0 innings with nine strikeouts for the victory. Matt Manning came on in the seventh and retired all nine batters he faced, including striking out three, to earn the save. It was the second time this year the Knights limited an opponent to two hits or less (no-hitter vs. Wagner March 17).

Situational Hitting
While strong pitching typically provides UCF with victories, the offense also needs to perform in the clutch. In 26 wins this year, the Knights hit .343 with runners in scoring position, .350 with runners on base and held a 70.4 percentage when getting the RBI with a runner at third and less than two outs.

Conversely, in the 13 losses UCF went .188 with RISP, .258 with runners aboard and had a 54.5 percentage when attempting to get the RBI with a runner at third and less than two away.