Baseball Entertains Marshall in a Three-Game Set Starting Friday

April 30, 2009

ORLANDO (UCFAthletics.com) - With an opportunity to claim their second-straight C-USA series win, UCF hosts Marshall this weekend beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Knights and Thundering Herd are both fighting for position in the conference standings as there are just three weekends left of the regular season before the C-USA Championship May 20-24.

Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - Orlando, Fla. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - Orlando, Fla. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - Orlando, Fla. - 11 a.m.
Marshall - 17-26 Overall, 6-12 C-USA
UCF - 16-27 Overall, 5-10 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
Marshall leads 5-4
Live Stats:
Live Video:
740-AM with Marc Daniels on the Call

This Weekend's Festivities
- Limited edition Knights logo lapel pin to the first 100 fans Friday.
- Kiko Vazquez trading card giveaway all weekend.
- Kids Day at the Park Sunday - following the game kids can come onto the field to run the bases and get their favorite UCF player autographs.

UCF vs. USF Midweek Recap
Completing their four-game 2009 series, UCF and USF split a pair of midweek games with the home team winning each tilt. Shane Brown and Chris Duffy both went .500 in those two outings, while D.J. Hicks shined in the Knights' win by crushing two over the fence and earning the save.

Upcoming Opponent
Splitting an April 29 doubleheader at Youngstown State, Marshall sits at 17-26 on the season. The Thundering Herd was swept at home by Houston last weekend as their C-USA record slipped to 6-12, however they did post at least one win over Memphis (two), East Carolina, Southern Miss, UAB and Rice. With a team average of .278, Victor Gomez leads the power numbers with 15 dingers while Adam Yeager has swiped 22 bases. The staff lays claim to a 5.21 ERA with 338 strikeouts in 378.1 innings.

The Series
Marshall took control of the series at 5-4 by sweeping the Knights in West Virginia last season. However the previous meeting in Orlando in 2007 resulted in a pair of wins for the Black and Gold. In UCF's 8-6 win in game one, Chris Duffy and Kiko Vazquez both collected three hits, while the Knights scored three in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 triumph in the second game.

Something So Strong
D.J. Hicks went from hitting .229 before April 24 to batting .302 entering this weekend. It was all thanks to four-straight multi-hit games which saw the freshman pound out four homers with 13 RBI April 24-28. Hicks went 5-for-6 with a UCF record six runs at UAB April 24, posted two more hits the next day and had three hits in the series finale. Then taking on USF, Hicks tied it up at 3-3 with a three-run job in the fourth inning before giving UCF the lead thanks to a two-run homer in the sixth.

Hicks also has blossomed in his last four relief appearances. 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. Hicks was then stellar at UAB April 26 en route to a three-inning save, with the only runs surrendered coming with two down in the ninth. Two days later he did not give up a hit in 1.2 innings for the save vs. USF.

UCF held the NCAA record from 1985-02 when Odie Koehnke reached base in 17-straight plate appearances during the `85 campaign. That was until Cal State Northridge's Shaun Larkin got aboard 18-consecutive times in `02. However, the UCF name has been reattached to that record thanks to Shane Brown.

It all started with a double in the seventh against Stetson April 21. Brown then had another two-bagger in the eighth. But it was in game one at UAB April 25 that made those doubles really stand out as he then reached base in all eight plate appearances vs. the Blazers. One day later, the junior got aboard all five times, and in the series finale, Brown had a homer, double and single to tie the mark of 18-straight. Even though he flew out in his fourth at-bat April 26, Brown still went 13-for-18 in those four games for a .722 batting average, 1.333 slugging percentage, .783 on-base percentage and a 2.116 OPS.

Due to the memorable performance, Brown received NCBWA Pro-Line Athletic, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Louisville Slugger and CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Player of the Week awards along with the Conference USA Hitter of the Week accolade.

Let's Go Crazy
The eye-popping results from April 21-26 certainly brought up the question, "What records did UCF break?" Well, here they are (along with records the Knights came close to matching):
Most Consecutive Times on Base - 18 by Shane Brown (4/21-26) Tied NCAA record
Most Runs in a Game - 29 (4/24)
Most Runs in Consecutive Games - 42 (4/21-24)
Most Hits in a Game - 28 (4/24)
Most RBI in a Game - 26 (4/24)
Largest Victory in a League Game - 20 runs (4/24)
Second-Most Doubles in a Game- 9 (4/24)
Most Individual Runs in a Game - 6 by D.J. Hicks (4/24)
Second-Most Individual Hits - 5 by D.J. Hicks and Shane Brown (4/24)
Most Runs in a Three-Game League Series - 49 (4/24-26)

Rock On
UCF reached the 55 home run mark when it smashed three vs. USF April 28. With 55 homers 43 games into the season, this year's squad already ranks as the eighth-most powerful team in UCF history:
1) 1998 - 66 HR in 62 GP - 1.065 HR/game
T2) 2005 - 63 HR in 60 GP - 1.050 HR/game
T2) 1999 - 63 HR in 59 GP - 1.068 HR/game
4) 2001 - 62 HR in 65 GP - 0.954 HR/game
5) 1987 - 61 HR in 60 GP - 1.017 HR/game
6) 2000 - 58 HR in 62 GP - 0.935 HR/game
7) 1997 - 57 HR in 64 GP - 0.891 HR/game
8) 2009 - 55 HR in 43 GP - 1.279 HR/game

Some of the credit for UCF's outburst could be credited to moving in the fences 10 feet at Jay Bergman Field. However, the Knights have still hit 20 dingers in 18 games away from its home surface for an average of 1.111 long balls per game. At home, they have smashed 35 in 25 games, good for a 1.400 per game average.