Baseball Welcomes UAB to Town for Final C-USA Weekend

May 8, 2008

ORLANDO - The final Conference USA weekend lies ahead for the UCF baseball team as it hosts UAB Friday-Sunday at Jay Bergman Field. The seventh-place Knights are hoping to lock up a spot in the eight-team C-USA Championship, but the ninth-place Blazers have six league games remaining in their attempt to reach the postseason as well.

UCF Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m.
UAB - 20-29 Overall, 4-14 Conference USA
UCF - 29-21 Overall, 6-15 Conference USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
UAB leads, 5-1
740-AM and www.UCFAthletics.com
Live Stats:

Upcoming Opponent
UAB has lost seven of its last eight decisions, including a sweep at East Carolina last weekend, for a 20-29 overall record. In C-USA play, the Blazers are 4-14 with two wins over then-No. 19 Houston and single triumphs against Tulane and Marshall. Ryan Keedy is shining in his final year for the Blazers, as he entered the week ranked 35th in the nation in batting average. The senior currently is hitting .409 with 51 RBI and a .624 slugging percentage. The pitching staff, though, claims a team ERA of 6.68 with 284 strikeouts (UCF pitchers have 479 Ks).

The Series
After winning the first meeting between the two clubs in 2006, UCF has dropped five in a row to UAB to trail in the series, 5-1. The Blazers have outscored the Knights, 51-33, in those six outing.

UCF vs. USF Game Recap
It appeared it would be a long night for UCF when USF plated two runs in the first inning in Tampa May 6. However, the Knights answered with a two-run homer from Ryan Richardson in the second and then plated three in the sixth and three in the eighth to cruise to the 9-5 win. Colin Arnold capped off the scoring with his first D-I homer in the ninth.

I Wanna Be Rich
A 2-for-3 performance usually entails a decent night at the plate. But for Ryan Richardson, he made those two hits count as he belted a two-run homer and a two-run triple at USF May 6 in a 9-5 victory. His four RBI set a career-high, and he also scored two runs vs. the Bulls.

Hurts So Good
Newcomer Matt Manning has caused Conference USA hitters to retreat back to their dugout in shame this year. The right-handed sidearmer has tossed 7.2 innings without giving up a run, striking out nine and not walking a batter. His best appearance was a 3.0-hitless inning gem to pick up a save against Memphis April 13.

Progessing in a Difficult Conference
In UCF's first year through Conference USA in 2006, the Knights posted five league wins, while they collected seven last season. If the Black and Gold can pick up a sweep this weekend, it will finish with nine C-USA victories.

UCF in the NCAA Rankings
The Knights are in the top 50 in seven different statistical NCAA D-I categories. As a team, the Black and Gold is second in strikeouts per nine innings, 14th in stolen bases, 25th in stolen bases per game, 32nd in hits, 34th in sacrifice flies, 40th in walks and 44th in fielding percentage.

All Mixed Up
Taking on No. 27 Tulane in the series finale May 4, the Knights used a new lineup to solve the Wave's pitching staff and the change worked. Colin Arnold batted leadoff for the second time all year and went on to go 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI, and Chris Duffy hit in the No. 8 hole for the first time and connected for two hits and three RBI. Even more impressively, Dwayne Bailey moved to the ninth spot and proceeded to collect a career-high four RBI on two base hits.

UCF finished with a 12-1 win, notching 12 hits and leaving only five runners on base. In the first two games of the series combined, the Knights had just eight total hits and three runs.

Mitch Rides the Wave
Southpaw Mitch Houck controlled Tulane's offense all day long in a 12-1 win in New Orleans May 4. The redshirt sophomore hurled UCF's first complete-game on the road since Houck notched a CG against USF April 4, 2006. The Weston, Fla., native limited the Green Wave to just three hits and did not give up an earned run.