Knights Ready for a Big Week and it All Starts Tuesday vs. Stetson

April 12, 2010

By Brian Ormiston

Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Already one of the biggest turnarounds in major college baseball, UCF returns home to face Stetson Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. live on Bright House Sports Network. A pair of $250 scholarships will be given away by SGA, there will be free food prior to the game in front of Tower 2 for students provided by SGA and Tailgaters, and Knights Kids Club members along with youths in their little league jerseys will receive free admission.

Game Notes in PDF Format

Tuesday vs. Stetson - Orlando, Fla. - 7:05 p.m.
Stetson - 19-15 Overall, 7-2 Atlantic Sun
UCF - 22-12 Overall, 5-4 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
UCF leads, 66-48
Live Stats and Video:
Live on Bright House Sports Network (David Baumann and Frank Viola on the call)
Tuesday - 740-AM and UCFAthletics.com

UCF vs. Southern Miss Series Recap
-Johnny Sedlock kept Southern Miss off the board for the first six innings thanks to several groundball outs and five Ks to lift UCF to the 7-3 game-one win.
-The next afternoon, the Knights held a 10-3 lead, watched USM tie it up in the eighth, then UCF won it in the 10th on a RBI single from Chris Taladay.
-Then in the finale, UCF secured the sweep with a 9-8 win. Its 4-7 hitters combined to go 8-for-16.

Upcoming Opponent
-Posting an 8-1 record in its last nine outings, Stetson carries a 19-15 overall mark while going 7-2 in Atlantic Sun action.
-The Hatters are hitting .321, and are led by Jeff Simpson's .436 average.
-On the hill, they own a 6.15 ERA and has walked only 95 batters in 301.1 innings.

The Series
-In DeLand March 17, UCF scored five in the eighth and two in the ninth to defeat Stetson, 11-7. Chris Duffy crushed two homers, as UCF has won seven straight and lead the all-time series 66-48.

Off and Running
-With 21 newcomers, no one was quite sure how long it would take for the Knights to gel. But lately they certainly have come together.
-UCF is 15-5 in its last 20 games, while its off to its best start in C-USA at 5-4 (joined the league in 2006).

Turn it Around
-With 22, UCF has already equaled its win total from last season.
-UCF and Oregon have already posted the two biggest turnarounds in major college baseball this season. The two programs are the only ones in the six top conferences to have either equaled or surpassed their win total from 2009.
-The Knights were 22-35 in Terry Rooney's first year.
-And the Ducks were 14-42 last season in its first year of baseball since 1981 (they are currently 21-11).

Not Many Like UCF
-UCF is one of only four teams in the top six baseball conferences to have two .400 hitters (minimum 25 starts) in Chris Duffy (.442) and Shane Brown (.434). Arizona has three hitters above .400, while Cal State Fullerton and Pacific have two.
-Meanwhile, among those with a minimum of 15 starts, the Knights have eight .300 hitters. Only nine schools among C-USA, ACC, Big 12, SEC, Big West and Pac-10 can make that claim.

Tracking the Newcomers
-In the offseason, the Knights' recruiting class was head coach Terry Rooney's first at UCF, and it went on to be ranked in the top 10 in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. So far the experts are being proven accurate.
-UCF typically has been using 10 different players to fill out its starting nine, and seven of them are newcomers. That group consists of Ryan Breen, Chris Taladay, Derek Luciano, Darnell Sweeney, Ronnie Richardson, Austin Johnston and Jonathan Griffin, and they have combined to go 239-for-725 for a .330 average with 22 homers.
-Toeing the rubber, all six pitchers who have tossed at least 30.0 innings are new to the program: Joe Rogers, Johnny Sedlock, Owen Dew, Chase Bradford, Nick Cicio and Brian Adkins.

The Improvement of UCF - Part I - Hitting
-The sticks claim a .339 team batting average through 34 games, as the all-time school mark is .335 set by the nationally-ranked 2001 squad.
-Since that 2001 campaign, the Knights have not posted a single-season average above .315, including four years below .300. Last year they finished with a .297 mark at the dish.

The Improvement of UCF - Part II - Pitching
-Last season the Knights completed the year with a 7.47 ERA and 13 saves. In 2010, they own a 5.84 ERA with 12 saves.
-Meanwhile, the nine UCF pitchers who have worked at least 10.0 innings this year have combined for a 5.13 ERA.

Making a Statement
-UCF lost to Southern Miss a year ago by a three-game tally of 51-14. But the tables turned in 2010.
-The Knights swept the Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg April 9-11, giving them their first-ever series win over USM. It also marked UCF's first road sweep since joining C-USA in 2006.
-The last time it swept a conference opponent on the road was at Atlantic Sun foe Belmont in 2005. The only C-USA sweep by the Knights before the USM weekend was at home against Tulane in 2007.

Mr. Consistent
-Senior Shane Brown already ranks in UCF's career top-10 in doubles, sac flies and HBP (first). But two hits at Southern Miss April 9 allowed the outfielder to climb into the all-time hits chart as well.
-Brown currently has 221 hits, which is one shy of tying for ninth place with Chad Mottola.
-This year, the senior went on a 12-game hitting streak, marking his fifth streak of at least eight games in his career. That includes a 22-game spurt last year, the second longest in UCF history.
-Brown has at least two hits in 24 of UCF's 34 games.
-For the year, the right fielder boasts a .434 average with four homers, 27 RBI and 32 runs.

Who Can It Be Now?
-A new, yet familiar face has been stepping up in the bullpen lately.
-Senior Matt Manning missed all of last season with an injury, but may have rediscovered his delivery. In four outings from March 30-April 6, the sidearmer had two saves in 6.2 scoreless innings, striking out seven and giving up just one hit.
-Then on April 11, Manning secured his fourth save of 2010 in a 9-8 win at Southern Miss.