Knights Meet No. 1 LSU for a Three-Game Set in Baton Rouge

Feb. 26, 2009

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF makes its second trip in three years to Baton Rouge when it meets No. 1 LSU Friday-Sunday at the New Alex Box Stadium. The journey to Louisiana will be a reunion for first-year head coach Terry Rooney and assistant coach Cliff Godwin, as they both spent the previous two seasons with the Tigers.

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Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - 8 p.m. ET
Saturday - 3 p.m. ET
Sunday - 2 p.m. ET
UCF - 2-2 Overall, 0-0 C-USA
#1 LSU - 4-0 Overall, 0-0 SEC
New Alex Box Stadium (8,786)
LSU leads, 13-4
Live Coverage

VCU Series Recap
Both clubs brought their sticks opening weekend as UCF and Virginia Commonwealth split a four-game series. There were a total of 60 runs and 98 hits between the schools, as well as 10 homers. On the mound, Kyle Sweat looked sharp Opening Day, going 5.0 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts for the win. UCF's pitchers walked just three batters in 36 innings vs. the Rams.

Upcoming Opponent
Ranked No. 1 in two of the four major polls, LSU kicked off the 2009 campaign in impressive fashion, opening a multi-million dollar stadium and posting a 4-0 record with a sweep of Villanova and a win over Southern Feb. 25. The Tigers enter the series with UCF holding a .338 team average and a 2.75 ERA, striking out 43 in just 36 innings of work. Leadoff batter Leon Landry already has three homers while Ryan Schimpf (.643) and DJ LeMahieu (.571) each have gone over .500 at the plate.

The Series
This weekend marks the fourth time this decade UCF and LSU will square off in a three-game series, with the Knights posting a 1-2 record each year. The Tigers visited Orlando's Tinker Field in 2000 and Jay Bergman Field in 2004 before the Black and Gold made the treak to Baton Rouge in 2007. Dating back to their first meeting in 1985, LSU holds a 13-4 lead in the all-time series.

Facing No. 1
With the trip to No. 1 LSU on the plate this weekend, the Knights will be facing the top team in the land for the fourth time since 2001. UCF also battled Rice once in 2001 and Florida State once in 2002, while facing the Owls again in a three-game series when they were No. 1 in 2006. A win over the Tigers would be the Black and Gold's first over a top-ranked program (the Knights did beat LSU when it was No. 2 in 2004).

Going Yard
The Knights crushed six balls over the fence in their first three games this year, which may have been helped by UCF bringing in its fences at Jay Bergman Field by 10 feet. Conversely, it took 10 games last season for the Black and Gold to collect six homers.

More Notes on Round-Trippers
It took only four games in 2009 for six different Knights to belt a home run. That is the quickest UCF has ever had six players post at least one dinger (complete box scores from 1973-late eighties unavailable). Here's a breakdown of those numbers from the past decade:
Season - # of Games Until Sixth Player Hit First HR
2009 - 4
2008 - 13
2007 - 57
2006 - 17
2005 - 23
2004 - 29
2003 - 13
2002 - 21
2001 - 8
2000 - 7

Strong Numbers at the Dish
UCF's offense finished with some impressive offensive numbers for the VCU series. Nine players had batting averages of at least .286, with seven of them hovering over .350. Meanwhile, they combined for a .521 slugging percentage and 8.5 runs per game.

Another Edition of Brownie Bits
After posting a hit in the first two games of the VCU series, Shane Brown broke out in game three where he was making his first start at catcher since 2007. The junior notched career-highs with four hits and five RBI, while also matching a personal-best with four runs scored in the 12-6 win.

Nice Beginnings
Eric Kallstrom posted five hits in eight at-bats vs. VCU in the opening two contests of 2009. Meanwhile, Kiko Vazquez drilled two balls over the fence Feb. 21, which was the third time in his career he notched a two-homer game.

Challenging VCU
A total of 12 different pitchers have been used through the first four games of the year. And in 36 innings of work, they have combined to walk just three batters and post 21 strikeouts.

Flocking to the Park
UCF's fifth-largest crowd in history (1,897) came out to see the Knights' Opening Day contest vs. VCU. On Feb. 21, 1,621 more witnessed game two, while 1,221 ventured through the gates Feb. 22. Even though the series ended on a Monday afternoon, 843 more saw the finale to make it the largest-attended series in UCF history at 5,582 fans.