UCF Prepares to Rumble with Memphis at Home Beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.

April 29, 2010

By Brian Ormiston

Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The only school among the top-25 baseball leagues in the nation to have five true freshmen in the starting lineup, UCF hosts third-place Memphis this weekend starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Knights are just three games out of second in the Conference USA standings with three league series to play.

Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - Orlando, Fla. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - Orlando, Fla. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - Orlando, Fla. - 1 p.m.
Memphis - 20-21 Overall, 8-7 C-USA
UCF - 26-17 Overall, 6-9 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
Memphis leads, 8-5
Live Stats:
Live Video:
UCFAthletics.com and 740-AM (Marc Daniels on the Call)

This Weekend's Festivities
-All weekend long: Bring in five empty cans or bottles of a Coca-Cola product and get a free UCF baseball T-shirt.
-Friday: First 200 fans receive a free UCF trading card set, and head volleyball coach Todd Dagenais to throw out the first pitch.
-Saturday: Boy Scout Day, and the first 100 fans in a UCF baseball T-shirt receive a free 20-oz bottle of Coca-Cola.
-Sunday: Youth in their little league jerseys get in for free.

UCF vs. Marshall Series Recap
-UCF hit five home runs and had several scoring opportunities throughout the weekend, but could not break through in a series loss at Marshall.
-The Knights left 35 on base in the three-game set, and had at least one baserunner in 21 of the 27 innings.

Upcoming Opponent
-Memphis sits in third place in Conference USA thanks to an 8-7 record (20-21 overall). The Tigers have earned series wins over Rice, Marshall and Tulane this year.
-As a team, Memphis is hitting .319 with sophomore Chad Zurcher pacing all starters with a .404 average. Tyler Huelsing, meanwhile, has put 11 over the fence in 2010.
-The arms hold a 6.06 team ERA with 344 strikeouts in 360.2 innings.

The Series
-Memphis leads the series 8-5, but the Knights took two of three in each of the last two seasons.
-That was highlighted by a memorable trip to Tennessee last year. After the Tigers won game one at AutoZone Park April 3, Chris Duffy was inserted into the lineup for game two and that certainly marked the beginning of a new career.
-Duffy would go 3-for-6 with five RBI in a 12-7 UCF win in game two. In the finale, the Knights trailed 3-0 with two outs and nobody on in the top of the ninth. Then the unthinkable happened. Kiko Vazquez homered. D.J. Hicks walked and Duffy homered to tie it up. Following a Chadd Hartman single, Colin Arnold also went yard for the amazing 5-3 win.
-That series sparked Duffy as he went .340 at the plate in his final 26 games. He entered the series batting .208.

Freshmen Note #1
Knights Using a Lot of Youngsters
-As of April 29, UCF is the only school in one of the top-25 conferences in the nation to have five true freshmen make at least 25 starts in the batting order in 2010.
-Meanwhile, only two programs in all of Division I can make that claim: UCF (five) and Alabama A&M (six).
-Overall, there are just five schools with at least four true freshmen who have made 25 starts or more: Alabama A&M (six), UCF (five), Tulane (four), Stanford (four) and Arizona (four).
-By comparison, just over 200 D-I baseball schools have either one or zero true freshmen with at least 25 starts, while over 80 programs have two or three.

Freshmen Note #2
Taladay Making a Statement
-Windermere's Chris Taladay owns a .353 batting average this season. That ranks among the top-25 true freshmen in country who have made at least 35 starts.
-Taladay's .353 mark also stands at second among C-USA freshmen (with a minimum of 35 starts), trailing only Tulane's Blake Crohan average of .354.

Freshmen Note #3
Sweeney Seeing Plenty of Time at Short
-Shortstop Darnell Sweeney is the only Knight to start all 43 games this year.
-The native of Miramar ranks tied for fifth among all freshmen in the country in games started (LeMoyne's Zach Wiley leads with 47).

Duffy Still in the Top 10 in Several Categories
-With an average that has not fallen under .437 since Opening Day when he went 1-for-3 with a mark of .333, Chris Duffy's numbers continue to grow.
-The senior left fielder is hitting .442 with 73 hits, 15 doubles, 16 homers and a 1.354 OPS.
- He is tied for sixth in the country in homers, while he came into the week ranked 13th in batting average and in the top 10 in hits (eighth), RBI (eighth), slugging (fourth), and total bases (third).
-Among players in the top six baseball leagues in the country (C-USA, ACC, SEC, Big West, Pac-10, Big 12), Duffy ranks first in home runs.

He's Back
-After a quick start where he opened the year hitting .485, catcher Beau Taylor saw his average drop to .304. But when April arrived, he definitely found his rhythm.
-Since April 2, the Freshman All-American is 26-for-64 for a .406 average, driving in 14 runs while scoring 17.
-That stretch also includes at least one hit in 15 of 16 games, as he has improved his average from .304 to .350.