UCF Baseball Conference USA Championship Game Notes

May 20, 2008

NEW ORLEANS, La. - As the No. 7 seed, the UCF baseball team ventures to New Orleans for the 2008 Entergy Conference USA Championship this week. The Knights get things started by battling No. 2 Southern Miss Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. No. 3 Tulane and No. 6 Marshall are also in UCF's side of the bracket, which features a double-elimination format.

UCF Baseball Game Notes in PDF Format

No. 7 UCF vs. No. 2 Southern Miss - Wednesday, 5 p.m. ET
No. 7 UCF - 31-25 Overall, 8-16 Conference USA
No. 2 Southern Miss - 38-18 Overall, 15-9 Conference USA
Greer Field at Turchin Stadium (5,000)
USM leads, 9-3
Live Stats/Video/Audio:

Upcoming Opponent
Southern Miss climbed into the No. 2 seed during the final weekend of the regular season, and brings a 38-18 overall record into the tournament with a 15-9 mark in C-USA. The Golden Eagles went 1-3 last week, including two losses at UAB and another at No. 27 South Alabama. They have been paced all year long by Barry Bowden's 1.63 ERA and 7-3 record in 10 starts, and closer Tyler Conn's 0.84 ERA and 16 saves. However, when you take Bowden out of the starting mix, Southern Miss starting hurlers have a 6.10 combined ERA this season.

The Series
USM pushed its advantage over UCF to 9-3 by earning two wins in this year's regular-season series in Hattiesburg. The Knights dropped an 8-4 decision in game one, which saw Jaager Good make his last appearance of 2008 and Barry Bowden give up three runs in 8.0 innings. They then pounded out 14 hits for a 15-4 victory in game two, but witnessed Southern Miss capture the rubber match, 10-6.

UCF vs. Clemson Series Recap
After Clemson cruised to a 9-1 win in the opener of the regular-season series finale in Orlando May 15, the Tigers needed late-inning runs to take the final two games and secure the sweep over UCF. Eric Kallstrom and Ryan Richardson both went 4-for-11 in the series, while Shane Brown pounded out two homers in the game-three loss.

2008 Entergy Conference USA Championship
A quick breakdown of day one (all times ET):
1) Rice vs. 8) UAB - 1:30 p.m.
2) Southern Miss vs. 7) UCF - 5 p.m.
3) Tulane vs. 6) Marshall - 8:30 p.m.
4) Houston vs. 5) East Carolina - 10 a.m.

Bring Me to Life
Senior Tyson Auer served as UCF's best hitter during last season's C-USA Championship at East Carolina. The center fielder posted a .455 mark (5-for-11) with three runs scored and was 3-for-3 on the basepaths. Auer also had two walks and did not strike out in three games played.

Life is a Highway
UCF hurlers have combined to strikeout 526 batters in 495.0 innings of work this season (1.063 Ks per inning). That total is the most amount of Ks for the pitching staff since the 2001 squad recorded a team-record 597 strikeouts in 557.0 innings (1.072 per inning).

Interim Head Coach Craig Cozart
Craig Cozart starting serving as UCF's Interim Head Coach on May 1. He has since guided the Knights to a 4-6 record, highlighted by a 12-1 win over No. 27 Tulane May 4. Cozart came to the Knights as a freshman pitcher and worked four years at UCF from 1993-96 before serving as a student assistant coach in 1997. He then jumped to an assistant coach role in 1998 and was named associate head coach during the summer of 2007.

Boom Shake the Room
A year after not going yard, sophomore Shane Brown put eight over the fences during the 2008 regular season, capped off by a two home run performance against Clemson May 17. The third baseman, who started the year at first base, also cranked out a pair of homers vs. UAB May 9. Brown also has 47 RBI, 37 runs and 13 doubles on the campaign.

First-Inning Fireworks
The first inning has been the most productive for offenses in UCF games this season. The Knights have totaled 53 runs in the opening frame, the second most in any inning (56 in the second inning). Meanwhile, opponents have posted 52 first-inning runs, as just the sixth inning (54 runs) has amassed a higher amount.

When UCF does score in the first inning, it claims a 19-6 record, but when an opponent plates at least one run in the first, the Knights are 10-16.

Nothin' But a Good Time
Junior Robert Lara had little trouble adjusting to Conference USA pitchers in his first season at UCF. The catcher paced the Knights in league games with a .358 average, 18 RBI, 15 walks, two sac flies and a .464 on-base percentage. Lara completed the final 15 C-USA games by posting at least one hit in 13 of them.

Good Vibrations
Sitting on the bench watching UAB post 22 hits in game one vs. UCF May 9, starting pitcher Mitch Herold kept calm when he went to the mound for game two. The lefty continued to find his locations in another dazzling performance, going 7.0 scoreless innings and surrendering just two hits. Herold also struck out seven and did not walk a batter. It was his fifth-straight start in which he gave up three runs or less.