UCF Clashes with No. 23 Rice in Houston Friday-Sunday

March 25, 2011

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By Brian Ormiston

HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF opens the Conference USA schedule on the road for the fourth-straight year as it heads to No. 23 Rice this weekend with game one set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Freshman Ben Lively will make his first-career Friday-night start as the righty carries a 4-0 record with a 1.00 ERA.

Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - Houston, Texas - 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday - Houston, Texas - 3 p.m. ET
Sunday - Houston, Texas - 2 p.m. ET
No. 23 Rice - 15-9 Overall, 0-0 C-USA
UCF - 16-5 Overall, 0-0 C-USA
Reckling Pack (5,700)
Rice Leads, 16-4
Live Coverage:
UCFAthletics.com and Twitter.com/UCF_Baseball

Next Home Game
-It will be Pink at the Park when the Knights host No. 28 Stetson in a Sunshine State rumble Tuesday, March 29.
-The first 250 fans will receive a free Pink at the Park T-shirt to help spread awareness of breast cancer.
-$2 Tuesday - popcorn is just $2.

Upcoming Opponent
-Victorious in its previous five games, C-USA preseason favorite Rice is 15-9 overall with wins over No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 11 Arizona and No. 13 Stanford. It also swept Southern Cal during the year.
-While UCF will send out freshman Ben Lively Friday, the Owls will start a freshman as well in Austin Kubitza (2-2, 1.56) who defeated Texas A&M with a six-hit shutout.
-At the dish, Rice owns the possible first pick in the MLB Draft this summer in third baseman Anthony Rendon who is hitting .341 with a .517 OBP.

The Series
-Rice has won every series over UCF since the Knights joined C-USA in 2006, but UCF has picked up one victory in each of the last three seasons.
-The Owls currently own a 16-4 advantage in the series.

The Only One
-The NCAA released its first national statistics report Tuesday and UCF was the only team in the country to be ranked in the top 25 in batting average, ERA and fielding percentage.
-Entering Friday's showdown vs. Rice, UCF has a .316 average, 2.62 ERA and a .980 fielding percentage.

Just a Freshman
-Righty Ben Lively made his collegiate-debut in relief against Bethune-Cookman Feb. 22, but has since won four-straight starts.
-Lively ranks in a tie for 35th in the nation with a 1.00 ERA, and is fourth among freshmen pitchers.

More on Lively
-Freshman Ben Lively has produced a 4-0 record and 22 strikeouts in 27.0 innings in his first five-collegiate appearances (four starts).
-The last Knight to start a season 4-0 on the mound was closer Justin Weiss in 2007.
-The last UCF starter to hold a 4-0 record was when Ray Rodriguez and Darren Newlin each opened 2005 at 5-0 (Rodriguez eventually went to 6-0 before his first loss).
-Lively is third in C-USA in ERA and first by holding opponents to a .152 average.
-Lively became the first Knight since Mitch Herold in 2008 to toss a nine-inning complete game and the first freshman since Mitch Houck in 2006 to record a complete game when he took down Wagner, 5-1, March 12.

Getting the Job Done
-Sophomore Ronnie Richardson has been on fire with runners in scoring position, going 14-for-28 at the plate.
-The center fielder also has successfully advanced runners 61 percent of the time when he is at the plate.

Rolling Along
-UCF has won seven of its last nine contests as it prepares for a tough weekend at No. 23 Rice.
-The Knights are second in Conference USA with a .316 team batting average, as well as first in runs (165), RBI (144), doubles (57) and stolen bases (41).
-On the mound, UCF ranks third with a 2.62 ERA, second with 186 strikeouts and first for fewest walks allowed (43).