Countdown to Opening Day: Season Preview - Pitching Staff

Feb. 13, 2011

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By Brian Ormiston

Part One - C
Part Two - 1B
Part Three - 2B
Part Four - SS
Part Five - 3B
Part Six - OF

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The seventh and final part of UCFAthletics.com's season preview of the 2011 UCF baseball team highlights the pitching staff. The Knights have a total of 18 pitchers this year, and the weekend rotation may feature some new faces.

Pitching Staff
In Alphabetical Order - RHP
-Sr. Alex Besaw - 8.03, 2-2, 7 APP, 5 GS, 12.1 IP, 7 BB, 5 K
-Sr. J.M. Blake - 34.36, 0-0, 6 APP, 0 GS, 3.2 IP, 3 BB, 1 K
-Sr. Chase Bradford - 5.59, 4-3, 21 APP, 0 GS, 1 SV, 23 BB, 36 K
-Jr. Bryan Brown - 4.81, 2-2, 23 APP, 1 GS, 48.2 IP, 25 BB, 30 K
-Jr. Matt Collins - Comes to UCF from Daytona State College
-Fr. Gregg Cooke - Redshirted last season
-Sr. Brennan Dobbins - 5.13, 3-0, 20 APP, 6 GS, 1 SV, 40.1 IP, 20 BB, 40 K
-Jr. Ray Hanson - Drafted in the 47th round by San Francisco out of Cypress College
-So. D.J. Hicks - Did not pitch last year, two-way player saw time in just six games and earned a medical redshirt
-Fr. Ben Lively - Drafted in the 26th round by Cleveland out of Gulf Breeze High School
-Jr. Danny Winkler - Drafted in the 43rd round by Chicago (NL) out of Parkland College

In Alphabetical Order - LHP
-So. Brian Adkins - 5.80, 4-3, 21 APP, 6 GS, 49.2 IP, 17 BB, 33 K
-Fr. Trevor Berry - Oviedo High School Pitcher of the Year with a 7-0 record last year
-Sr. Nick Cicio - 5.64, 4-3, 18 AP, 9 GS, 1 CG, 59.0 IP, 31 BB, 56 K
-Fr. Jeff Dally - Had a 1.50 ERA as a senior for Citrus High School last season
-Jr. Chris Matulis - Transfer from LSU and will sit out 2011
-So. Joe Rogers - 4.50, 4-2, 23 APP, 3 GS, 8 SV, 48.0 IP, 17 BB, 43 K
-Sr. Johnny Sedlock - 5.95, 3-4, 16 APP, 10 GS, 1 SV, 56.0 IP, 19 BB, 41 K

UCF had only one pitcher start in every weekend series last year in Owen Dew, who went on to have a very successful beginning to his minor-league career in the Cleveland Indians organization. Dew started 13 games for the Knights and posted a 5-3 record with a 5.89 ERA, leading the team in innings pitched at 73.1.

To replace Dew, several newcomers have the ability to step up for the Black and Gold. Look for Danny Winkler to have an early shot at anchoring the rotation. The Parkland College (Ill.) transfer helped lead his squad to the NJCAA national title as a freshman, and had a 9-4 record with a 3.11 ERA as a sophomore. Winkler later would be drafted in the 43rd round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

Three more right-handed newcomers also are in the hunt for weekend starts. Juniors Ray Hanson and Matt Collins both bring important experience to the staff, while freshman Ben Lively had a 1.41 career high school ERA en route to being drafted in the 26th round last year by Cleveland.

The Knights have four southpaws that made at least three starts last year as well. Seniors Nick Cicio (nine starts) and Johnny Sedlock (10 starts) routinely got the call throughout 2010, while sophomore Brian Adkins (six starts) started games against Florida, Miami and the season finale at Tulane.

Sophomore and 2010 Freshman All-American Joe Rogers, meanwhile, was used as a starter in three games, but saved eight games as the UCF closer and will return to that role in 2011. Already on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List, Rogers had a 4-2 record and struck out 43 in 48.0 innings last season.

The Knights added three more lefties to the staff in freshmen Trevor Berry and Jeff Dally, and Chris Matulis ventures to UCF from LSU and will have to sit out 2011.

One addition to the bullpen is the return of sophomore D.J. Hicks, who earned a medical redshirt last year and has not pitched since 2009. The righty will likely serve as the designated hitter and come out of the pen, while he also will see time at first base, a role that suited him well as a freshman.

Six more right-handers help solidify the 2011 pitching staff in seniors Alex Besaw, J.M. Blake, Chase Bradford and Brennan Dobbins, junior Bryan Brown and redshirt freshman Gregg Cooke. Dobbins has nine starts in his career and struck out 40 in 40.1 innings as a junior, while Brown had the second-best ERA last year (4.81).

Opening Day is quickly approaching, as the Black and Gold will host Siena Friday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in game one of a three-game weekend series. Season and single-game tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (407) 823-1000 or by visiting UCFAthletics.com's Tickets section.