Baseball Looking Forward to Hosting Clemson Before Traveling to New Orleans

May 13, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - When the 2008 UCF baseball schedule was released, fans quickly started getting excited for 38 home games at Jay Bergman Field, the most since the 1991 season at the old UCF Baseball Complex. However, May is already here and many programs like No. 4 Rice and No. 5 Missouri have discovered just how tough it can be playing on the Orlando campus.

Now three home games remain and they certainly will be difficult. UCF and Clemson open the three-game set Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in what will be both teams' final regular-season contests before their respective conference tournaments.

The Knights achieved a national ranking of 16th earlier this year, and claim a 31-22 overall record. They are 26-9 at home and 3-2 all-time vs. the Tigers. UCF has already locked down the seventh seed in the Conference USA Championship in New Orleans May 21-25.

Meanwhile, Clemson was ranked as high as No. 13 in the preseason polls but played a tricky schedule this year and will bring a 26-25-1 mark into this weekend's meeting with UCF. The Tigers will then scoot up to Jacksonville for the ACC Tournament next week. Clemson is in danger of witnessing their consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance streak snapped at 21, and its trip to Orlando will be important in its efforts to keeping that streak alive.

As the Knights prepare for their huge tune-up against one of the nation's premier teams before the C-USA Championship, they provided their thoughts on facing off with the Tigers, the postseason and senior weekend.

Jr. LHP Mitch Herold
On playing Clemson...
"We have a good opportunity to play a quality opponent with three good starters to get us ready for the conference tournament. I am sure that their starters are as good as Conference USA starters."

On the seniors playing their final games at Jay Bergman Field...
"I feel it is going to be a good weekend for them. Obviously they are going to come out wanting to get another series win, so it will be big for us to play hard and help them out."

On the C-USA Championship...
"It is going to be tough, but I think that we have a very good chance of doing well in this tournament. But everyone has to believe in order to do it. If we play well, we have a really good chance at making some noise."

Jr. C Robert Lara
On taking on the Tigers...
"We are playing a big name school in Clemson and I am pretty sure we are ready for them. When Rice came in, we were able to pick it up a little bit."

On having close to two full days in New Orleans for the C-USA Championship before their first game Wednesday, May 21...
"I think going there on a Monday should help us. We are going to get there and go through practice and be able to hang out. It's better than rushing through a practice and the very next day is the game."

On UCF's possible opponents in the C-USA Championship...
"We feel confident playing everybody including Rice, Tulane and Southern Miss. We did not play very well against Houston, but that was what it was. I think as long as we pitch well, play good defense and have timely hitting we will be alright. We have seen everyone's starting pitchers, but it will be about who wants it more. I think we are a very scary team going in. Hopefully we can make a run."

Sr. OF Matt Lambert
On finishing his career at home against Clemson...
"It is nice to play a big-name school out of the ACC. We have been looking forward to it for awhile. It was something that we were looking forward to to complete the season."

On what he remembers most about playing for UCF...
"My career as a whole, just seeing where I have come from and remembering all of the guys I have played with here."

On being part of teams that have continuously set attendance records the last few years...
"It feels good. It helps we joined Conference USA and have been able to bring in such great talent to play against. It is great to see the community support that we saw early in the season and see it stay throughout the year."

UCF baseball single-game tickets are currently available by contacting the UCF Ticket Office at 407-823-1000, or by going online at www.ucfathletics.com, the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.