Baseball Set to Close Out Regular Season at Tulane Thursday-Saturday

May 19, 2010

By Brian Ormiston

Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF will close out the regular season on the road for the first time since 2006 when it heads to Tulane Thursday-Saturday. Game one is set for 7 p.m. ET, as the Knights will need to sweep the Green Wave and hope for a little help in order to secure a spot in the Conference USA Championship at Houston May 26-30.

Game Notes in PDF Format

Thursday at Tulane - New Orleans, La. - 7 p.m. ET
Friday at Tulane - New Orleans, La. - 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday at Tulane - New Orleans, La. - 2 p.m. ET
Tulane - 31-22 Overall, 9-12 C-USA
UCF - 31-21 Overall, 8-13 C-USA
Greer Field at Turchin Stadium (5,000)
Tulane leads, 10-8
Live Stats:

Postseason Scenarios
The Knights qualify for the C-USA Championship if:
-UCF sweeps at Tulane. UAB gets swept at Rice. ECU takes at least two of three at home against Houston.
-UCF sweeps at Tulane. UAB gets swept at Rice. Houston sweeps ECU on the road.

UCF vs. ECU Series Recap
-UCF hit .356 as a team as it went 1-2 against East Carolina last weekend.
-Shane Brown hit .545 with seven RBI, while Chris Duffy drove in six and Jonathan Griffin went yard twice.
-Junior Nick Cicio capped off the series with a complete-game three-hitter in a seven-inning 14-1 win in the finale.

Upcoming Opponent
-Coming off a 9-1 win at home over No. 27 LSU Tuesday, Tulane carries a 31-22 record. Meanwhile, the Green Wave sit one game ahead of UCF in the standings with a 9-12 C-USA mark.
-Just like the Knights, Tulane has been using several freshmen in 2010, including four in the starting lineup highlighted by Blake Crohan who is hitting .346.
-With a 5.38 staff ERA, Tulane has issued just 165 walks in 460.0 innings this year.

The Series
-The Green Wave have knocked out UCF from each of the last two C-USA Championships, and owns a 10-8 all-time series lead.
-The last time the Knights visited New Orleans in the regular season, they dropped the first two games to then-No. 27 Tulane but bounced back to run-rule the home team in the finale.

-Sitting in a tie with Dee Brown for UCF's single-season home run record, left-handed hitting Chris Duffy has proven that he is not just your typical home run hitter who loves pulling the ball.
-Of his 18 homers, the senior has gone the opposite way to left six times while putting two over the wall in center.
-Of his 85 hits this year, 28 of them have been to left or left-center, nine are to center and 44 are to right or right-center (four hits have been on the infield). That means 44 percent of Duffy's hits in 2010 have been either to center field or been slugged the opposite way.

Genie in a Bottle
-UCF has never witnessed a season in which two players both finished with batting averages above .400.
-That may soon change, as Chris Duffy (.436) and Shane Brown (.423) are each putting up insane numbers in `10.
-Duffy came into the week ranked first in C-USA in batting average, OPS and RBI, as well as second in slugging, hits and total bases.
-Meanwhile Brown owns first place in HBP, second in OBP and doubles and third in batting average.

The Way
-The Knights are searching for their 32nd overall victory this year. Along with the 31 wins by the 2008 squad, those are the most by a UCF team dating back to 2005 when it compiled 42 wins in its last season in the Atlantic Sun.

My Name Is
-Third baseman Chris Taladay certainly is making a run at C-USA Freshman of the Year.
-The Windermere native started the week ranked first among all C-USA freshmen in batting average, hits, doubles, homers, total bases, slugging and OPS.
-He also is in the top five in at-bats, runs, RBI, HBP and OBP.

Larger Than Life
The 2010 Seniors
-Shane Brown: One of the purest hitters UCF has ever seen...Lifetime .360 hitter with 24 homers and 57 doubles.
-Chris Duffy: A sweet swing with exceptional power who ultimately will finish his career among the top home run hitters of all-time.
-Matt Goodyear: The vocal leader has appeared in 23 games in four seasons, including his career-long 4.2-inning outing last week vs. JU.
-Matt Manning: Left his mark in just two years on the mound with his passion for the game and sidearm delivery...Has appeared in 20 games with four saves this year.
-Cory Weech: After joining UCF as a sophomore, appeared in 27 games last year which was the fifth most in school history...He is 4-1 lifetime as a Knight.

-UCF has seven different players with at least 10 doubles, led by Shane Brown with 19.
-The last time the Knights produced a stat like that was when the 2005 squad had eight players connect for double-digit two-baggers.
-Meanwhile,UCF also has eight Knights with 20 or more walks. The last time that happened was in 1995 when it had nine players receive at least 20 free passes.

This is How We Do It
-A 2009 Freshman All-American, Beau Taylor entered 2010 as a sophomore with two promising freshmen catchers backing him up in Chris Taladay and Ryan Breen. With Taylor owning the starting job, it was not sure how much playing time the newcomers would receive. But that quickly changed.
-Taylor currently owns a .342 average, while Taladay earned the starting gig at third base en route to a .369 mark. And since Breen took advantage of early opportunities at the plate, he was locked into the designated hitter role and now hits .338 with 10 stolen bases.
-Combined, the trio has belted out 19 homers and driven in 105 runs.
-Look for all three catchers to appear in a special feature story on an upcoming edition UCF SportsKnight.