No. 4 Rice Visits Jay Bergman Field to Tangle with the Knights

April 24, 2008

ORLANDO - It will be a very busy weekend at Jay Bergman Field when UCF hosts No. 4 Rice Friday-Sunday. Plenty of promotions are on tap, and The DeMarini Experience will be on hand for all three games as Knight fans have the opportunity to swing the same bats that the UCF offense has used in becoming one of the league's top hitting clubs.

The UCF Spring Show also will be on the air with Marc Daniels hosting the 45-minute program at 5:30 p.m. on 740-AM before game two vs. Rice Friday.

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m.
Rice - 32-10 Overall, 13-2 Conference USA
UCF - 26-16 Overall, 4-11 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
Rice leads, 10-1
740-AM and www.UCFAthletics.com
Live Stats:

Upcoming Opponent
Although UCF has been swinging a hot stick lately, Rice brings in a pitching staff that continuously ranks as one of the top arms in the country. The Owls' 3.79 team ERA has helped them win 12-straight heading into the UCF series, which includes three-game sweeps of Memphis, UAB and East Carolina. At the plate, six starters claim a batting average above .330, led by Diego Seastrunk's .363 mark.

The Series
This year will be the third-straight season UCF battles Rice when the Owls were ranked in the top 10. The Knights have lost nine-straight decisions to the Owls en route to a 1-10 all-time record. The Black and Gold's only victory over Rice came in a 4-3 win in Houston Feb. 25, 1998.

UCF vs. Marshall Series Recap
It was a back-and-forth affair in game one April 18 at Marshall, but the Thundering Herd sealed the 12-10 win with a five-run sixth. Seven Knights banged out at least two hits as they totaled a season-high 18 hits as a team. The loss was the first time since March 19, 2003, (12-11 at Florida A&M) that UCF scored at least 10 runs and lost.

Four first-inning runs put Marshall ahead and it did not have trouble holding on in a 9-6 victory in game two. Dwayne Bailey collected three hits, while Evan Stobbs and Matt Manning combined to toss 5.2 relief innings with just one earned run against them.

The finale proved to be another see-saw tilt, with Marshall eventually earning a 12-9 win. Colin Arnold collected four hits, Ryan Richardson notched three, and Chris Duffy drove in three runs on a pair of homers.

Very Productive Bats
UCF's offense has already scored more runs this year (314) than it did in both 2006 (293) and 2007 (313). Meanwhile, it is batting .318 for the season, which stands as the highest average since the 2001 team posted a record .335 BA.

2008 Proving to be Drastically Different
Several Knights are tearing the cover off the ball this year compared to their batting averages last season. They include: Dwayne Bailey (.232 to .387), Ryan Richardson (.313 to .374), Tim Russell (.211 to .267), Eric Kallstrom (.269 to .316), Brandon Romans (.274 to .298), Shane Brown (.267 to .368) and Chris Duffy (.283 to .292).

Defense is Standing Tall as Well
Fielding has guided the Knights throughout the season, a year after they committed 101 errors for a .956 fielding percentage. In 2008, UCF holds a .968 percentage with just 52 errors. If that continues, that would rank as the third best rating in program history.

Sebring is Back
Junior Kiko Vazquez returned to the lineup April 19 at Marshall after missing the first 40 games this year due to an injury. The Sebring, Fla., native batted cleanup and played first base, and notched a two-out, two-run single in the third inning in a 9-6 UCF loss. In Vazquez's second game, he went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.

Dwayne's a Pain in Pitchers' Sides
After starting the year with a 5-for-5 performance Feb. 22, Dwayne Bailey has not stopped his offensive dominance. The second baseman leads C-USA with 65 hits, and has 20 multi-hit games this year with a .387 average. In 2007, Bailey had just 10 multi-hit contests and a .232 batting average.

Getting Things Done at the Top
UCF's top four hitters in the lineup at Marshall April 18 were on fire as the Knights racked up 17 hits. Dwayne Bailey, Colin Arnold, Ryan Richardson and Robert Lara combined to go 10-for-18 with three doubles, seven RBI and five runs scored. Two days later, Arnold, Richardson, Kiko Vazquez, Lara and Chris Duffy went 13-for-22 with seven RBI from the No. 2-6 holes in the order.

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. They also need just 943 fans to break the overall single-season mark set in 2007. 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.