UCF Ready to Open C-USA Home Schedule with Southern Miss

March 26, 2009

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - The home portion of the Conference USA schedule kicks off this weekend when UCF hosts Southern Miss. Game one's first pitch is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m., as senior righty Caleb Graham will be making the start on the mound for the Knights with classmate Kyle Sweat ready to take the hill on Saturday.

Game Notes in PDF Format

One-On-One with Terry Rooney

Friday - Orlando, Fla. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - Orlando, Fla. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - Orlando, Fla. - 11 a.m.
Southern Miss - 13-9 Overall, 1-2 C-USA
UCF - 7-17 Overall, 0-3 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
Southern Miss leads, 10-3
Live Stats:
740-AM with Marc Daniels on the Call
Online Video:

This Weekend's Festivities
- Tickets for the UCF football spring game April 11 at 2 p.m. will be on sale at the baseball ticket windows Friday-Sunday. Tickets are $5 each and a ticket for the BBQ is also $5 ($8 day of spring game)
- Pictures/autographs with your favorite mascots on Friday
- Limited edition Knights logo lapel pin to the first 100 fans Friday night
- Baseball card set No. 4 giveaway all weekend
- Kids Day at the Park Sunday. Kids can run the bases after the game and get autographs from UCF players

UCF vs. JU Recap
Jacksonville took both midweek games from the Knights, a 14-9 decision in Orlando March 24 and a 9-5 win in Jacksonville March 25. UCF pounded out 17 hits in game one, led by Shane Brown's 4-for-6 performance. The following day, the Dolphins scored seven runs in the eighth inning to complete a comeback victory.

Upcoming Opponent
A consistent contender for a spot in the NCAA Regionals, Southern Miss is off to a 13-9 start with five losses against top-10 teams (three to Cal State Fullerton and two to Rice), and a win over No. 25 Mississippi State. USM dropped its first two to the Owls at home to begin C-USA action last weekend only to post a memorable win in the finale by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Golden Eagles boast a .315 team average at the dish while four of their consistent starting pitchers have ERAs under 3.35.

The Series
UCF opened up C-USA play at Southern Miss last year and picked up a 15-4 win in game two. The teams would later meet in the C-USA Championship with the Golden Eagles earning an 8-5 win in the opening round to currently hold a 10-3 all-time lead in the series.

Man at Work
A freshman has quickly been climbing to the top of batting chart for the Knights this year. Jake Huxtable was hitting .233 on March 11, but since has posted at least one hit in nine of his last 10 games to boost his average to .300 entering Friday's game. That stretch included a seven-game hitting streak and four mulit-hit outings. Huxtable's best outing came against Hartford March 15 where he went 3-for-5 with four runs scored.

Knights + the Mechanics
Although the Knights lost to Jacksonville March 24, the UCF bullpen finished the final 8.2 innings by surrendering only two earned runs and striking out nine. Evan Stobbs had a career-long 5.0 inning-outing, while Cory Weech, Matt Goodyear and Justin Weiss went the final 3.2 frames with only two hits against and no walks.

Ain't Even Done with the Night
In his previous two seasons with UCF, senior Brandon Romans proved he had a little bit of power in his bat. But it was not until this year that he has routinely put that on display. The catcher remains near the top of the C-USA chart in homers while he paces the Knights in several statistical categories. Here's a comparison of Romans' numbers from his UCF career:
2007 - .274 BA, 35 GS, 21 R, 1 HR, 15 RBI
2008 - .329 BA, 16 GS, 10 R, 2 HR, 13 RBI
2009 - .382 BA, 19 GS, 14 R, 8 HR, 22 RBI

Do What You Do
During the East Carolina series, Brandon Romans dominated Pirate pitching, going .455 at the plate with two homers and a 1.455 OPS. From March 18-22, Romans posted a home run in three of four games.

I Go to Extremes
Shane Brown has quickly put together an impressive streak dating back to UCF's tilt with FIU March 4. The junior currently rides a career-long 15-game hitting streak entering the match-up with Jacksonville, going 21-for-53 during the stretch for a .396 average. Brown also has driven in 12 and scored 11 runs.