C-USA Coaches Pick UCF Baseball Fourth in 2011 Preseason Poll

Jan. 27, 2011

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By Brian Ormiston

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Since Terry Rooney took over the head coaching duties for the UCF baseball program in the summer of 2008, the Knights started their journey towards the top of the Conference USA standings. And after significant improvements each of the last two seasons, the Knights were picked fourth in the 2011 C-USA Preseason Coaches Poll Thursday.

A member of C-USA since 2005, UCF has increased its win total in the league every year, including a 10-14 mark last season (33-22 overall). That included a three-game sweep on the road at Southern Miss and two road victories at Tulane.

With the help of consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, the Knights are poised at even greater success this year. They bring back seven starting position players from a year ago as well as sophomore first baseman and reliever D.J. Hicks who earned a medical redshirt in 2010. Overall, the Knights routinely started five freshmen last season including three on the infield.

On the mound, the team ERA was lowered from 7.47 in 2009 to 6.01 in 2010, and with the help of seven solid newcomers joining the Knights in 2011, the pitching staff is set to be even stronger this season.

The journey to the postseason begins with the first team practice Friday at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday will be the annual UCF Baseball Fan Fest presented by B2 Café at The Venue with doors opening at 5 p.m. Meal tickets can be purchased for just $5 at the door or in advance by calling the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com. A meal ticket also will allow fans to be eligible to win prizes such as a free two-night stay and tickets to all three games when UCF travels to Florida State May 6-8, or two tickets to the 2011 UCF football home opener.

And 2011 season ticket packages are now on sale as well. Call the UCF Ticket Office today for more details. Opening Day 2011 is set for Friday, Feb. 18, vs. Siena.

2011 C-USA Preseason Coaches Poll (First Place Votes in Parentheses)
1) Rice (6)
2) Southern Miss (2)
3) East Carolina
4) UCF (1)
5) Tulane
6) Memphis
7) Houston
8) Marshall
9) UAB