Knights Ready for Three-Game Set at UAB

April 23, 2009

Game Notes in PDF Format

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - The second half of the Conference USA season opens up this weekend when UCF travels to UAB for a three-game set beginning Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Coming off an incredible come-from-behind win over Stetson, the Knights will send senior Caleb Graham to the mound in game one vs. the Blazers.

Friday - Birmingham, Ala. - 8 p.m. ET
Saturday - Birmingham, Ala. - 3 p.m. ET
Sunday - Birmingham, Ala. - 1 p.m. ET
UCF - 13-25 Overall, 3-9 C-USA
UAB - 23-18 Overall, 5-7 C-USA
Young Memorial Field (1,000)
UAB leads, 6-3
Live Stats:

UCF vs. Stetson Recap
UCF may have defeated Stetson, 13-12, April 21, but it was how the Knights got to 13 runs that stood out. Trailing 10-0 through the top of the fourth, UCF responded with four in the fourth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and five in the eighth, capped off by Kiko Vazquez's two-out, two-run homer. That would be the first time since the 2003 season the Black and Gold completed a comeback of eight or more runs.

Upcoming Opponent
Coming off a midweek split vs. Troy, UAB carries a 23-18 record and is tied for fifth in C-USA with a 5-7 league mark. The Blazers have both power in their bats (40 dingers and 102 doubles) and tons of speed on the bases (85) highlighted by Brint Hardy, who is far and away the nation's best base stealer with 36. The pitching staff owns a 5.24 ERA with seven saves and 288 strikeouts in 357.0 innings.

The Series
Picking up two of three victories in Orlando last year, UCF cut its series deficit with UAB to 6-3. The last time the two clubs clashed in Alabama, the Blazers earned a sweep in 2007, including claiming both games of a doubleheader March 31.

Let's Groove
Freshman D.J. Hicks has blossomed in his last two relief appearances on the mound. The two-way player allowed just two runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 6.2 innings vs. Florida Gulf Coast April 15. He returned April 21 vs. Stetson and retired the first nine batters he faced from the sixth to the eighth innings, giving the Knights' offense a chance to erase a 10-0 deficit in a 13-12 win.

Air Supply
Kiko Vazquez's long ball vs. Stetson April 21 not only gave UCF a come-from-behind victory, it also was his 10th of 2009, the most in a single-season for the senior. Brandon Romans also has a career-high 10 homers this year, as the duo has become the first pair since Dee Brown (18) and John-Michael Howell (15) in 2005 to both have double-digit home runs in a season.

Party All the Time
Since busting out for five RBI at Memphis April 4, Chris Duffy has continued his tear. The junior collected two more hits vs. Tulane April 11 and then belted two balls over the fence against Florida Gulf Coast April 15. Those two blasts gave Duffy 21 home runs in his three-year career, as he needs just one more to crack UCF's all-time top 10.

The Right Stuff
Outfielder Colin Arnold has notched a base hit in 24 of his 26 games played, including going off on a 20-game hitting streak March 17-April 15. He missed 12 contests from Feb. 28-March 15 due to an injury suffered at LSU Feb. 27.

Pump Up the Volume
Five games were all it took for Beau Taylor to remove his freshman jitters. The catcher was batting .100 through his first five contests until he went on a six-game hitting streak from March 8-18. Taylor eventually started really heating up during the Southern Miss series, and banged out at least two hits in six of nine games March 28-April 12. For the season, Taylor has four three-hit games along with a .330 batting average, three homers, 11 doubles and 17 runs.

Behind the plate, the backstop has thrown out 14 would-be basestealers, including a pair in the third inning alone vs. Stetson April 21 and two of the nation's top runners. At Florida April 8, he removed Matt den Dekker to snap a streak dating back to 2007 of 29-straight stolen bases for the UF junior. Taylor also threw out Tulane's Josh Prince on April 11, as it was just the third time in 29 tries Prince was nabbed in 2009.

Hungry Eyes
Kyle Sweat posted his second-straight C-USA start of 7.0 innings, as the righty walked just one and sat down four on strikes in seven frames vs. Tulane April 12. The only time the Green Wave got the leadoff batter on base against Sweat came in the seventh inning, and he was still able to keep him from scoring.

Overshadowed by UCF's late-inning heroics at Memphis April 5, Sweat entered the game hoping to give his team a shot at claiming the series against the Tigers. He did just that. The senior went 7.0 innings and struck out a career-high nine. Sweat retired the side in order in five of those innings, did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and sat down 10 in a row at one point. Memphis posted all four of its hits and three runs in the fifth frame, the only inning the Tigers put a runner in scoring position.

Going back to March 28, Sweat has only walked one batter in his last 17.0 innings.