Eventful Home Weekend On Tap for UCF Baseball

March 12, 2009

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF will clash with two separate teams this weekend when it hosts Hartford and Northern Iowa. The Knights battle the Hawks Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m., while they take on UNI Saturday at 6:30 p.m. It will be the first time since 1998 that UCF will tangle with two programs on the same date during regular-season play.

Knight fans are encouraged to come early this weekend and park in the free lots by Bright House Networks Stadium to avoid any traffic issues due to events in the UCF Arena. Check out the parking map below.

This Weekend's Parking Map in PDF Format

Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday vs. Hartford - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday vs. Hartford - 1 p.m.
Saturday vs. Northern Iowa - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday vs. Hartford - 1 p.m.
Hartford - 0-4 Overall, 0-0 America East
Northern Iowa - 6-6 Overall, 0-0 Missouri Valley
UCF - 4-9 Overall, 0-0 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
First Meeting for UCF with Hartford and UNI
Live Stats:

This Weekend's Festivities
-Fans attending Saturday's doubleheader will need separate tickets for both games
-A limited edition Knight logo lapel pin for the first 100 fans on Friday
-Baseball card set No. 2 giveaway all weekend
-Free koosies on Sunday
-Sunday is Kids Day at the Park - following the game kids can come down to the field, run the bases and get autographs

UCF vs. USF March 11 Recap
USF scored nine runs in the first four innings en route to a 13-5 victory over the Knights March 11. Stephen Branca went deep for UCF in the fifth inning, while catcher Beau Taylor amassed three hits to lead the offense.

Upcoming Opponent
Hartford was swept in a four-game series at New Mexico State to kick off its season, but has had four games cancelled or postponed already. In the series with the Aggies, the Hawks hit .320 at the plate with five dingers. On the mound, their staff posted a 9.68 ERA with 29 walks and 24 strikeouts.

For Northern Iowa, it brings a 6-6 record into its game Thursday against Miami (Ohio) in Winter Haven. It also meets Bowling Green Friday before heading to Orlando. Travis Bennett paces the sticks with a .333 average and 15 hits, while Deric Manrique is 10-for-10 on the bases. The Panther hurlers hold a 5.56 ERA with four saves.

The Series
UCF has never met Hartford or Northern Iowa on the diamond.

Only Time Will Tell
Through 13 games, UCF has crushed 16 balls over the fence, all from nine different players. While there are still several games left in the regular season, the Knights may threaten the school's single-season HR mark of 66 set 1998, as they are on pace to hit 69 round-trippers.

Don't You Forget About Me
After sitting out the first 10 games of the year due to an injury, Stephen Branca made quite an impression in his 2009 debut March 8 vs. Monmouth. Batting leadoff and playing second base, the sophomore went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, all of which were career-highs. Branca's solo homer, his first in a UCF uniform, to open the seventh inning tied it at 5-5 and the Knights cruised to a 10-5 triumph. Three days later, he came through again with a two-run homer against USF March 11.

Walk On
Also not seeing action until the Monmouth series, walk-on Alex Friedrich shined as well. The freshman outfielder came off the bench as a pinch-hitter and went 1-for-2 the rest of the game on March 7. He then received the start in center field March 8 and completed his afternoon 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

He's Got the Beat
Beginning his career with two starts on the hill, freshman D.J. Hicks was moved to the bullpen for the series against Monmouth and did not disappoint. The righty tossed 1.1 innings March 6 to earn his first collegiate win, and two days later he went the final 2.0 innings, giving up just one hit for his first save.