Showdown with Houston Awaits UCF Friday-Sunday

April 28, 2011

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By Brian Ormiston

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Only seven home games remain in 2011, and this weekend will be very important for both teams as UCF (26-15, 6-9) hosts Houston with game one scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m. Sophomore lefty Brian Adkins (5-2, 3.11) will start the series opener vs. the Cougars (20-22, 7-5).

Game Notes in PDF Format

Friday - Orlando, Fla. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday - Orlando, Fla. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - Orlando, Fla. - 11 a.m.
Houston - 20-22 Overall, 7-5 C-USA
UCF - 26-15 Overall, 6-9 C-USA
Jay Bergman Field (2,230)
Houston Leads, 18-7
Live Coverage:
740-AM, UCFAthletics.com and Twitter.com/UCF_Baseball
Friday on Bright House Sports Network

This Weekend's Festivities
-A reminder to fans that game two Saturday will be Military Appreciation Night at 4 p.m. Members of the Wounded Warrior Project, SSG William Castillo and SGT Noé Santos Diloné, will be throwing out the first pitch.
-All military members with ID (active or veterans) will receive free admission.
-To check out more details visit the April 13 press release on UCFAthletics.com.
-The Houston series marks Scout Weekend - with $4 tickets per game for troops and their families or admission to all three games for just $10.
-Saturday Family 4 Pack - Four tickets, four dogs, four drinks and four popcorns for only $40.
-On Sunday, youth in their little league jerseys get in free, while kids can run the bases after the game. Fans can also play Baseball Bingo.

Upcoming Opponent
-Houston has C-USA series wins over Tulane and Marshall while it has dropped two of three to UAB and East Carolina.
-The Cougars, who are 8-11 on the road, have a NCAA RPI of No. 47.
-UH has a .286 team average and plays a lot of small ball, boasting just 15 homers but stealing 48 bases and laying down 52 sac bunts.
-The staff has a 4.75 ERA and opponents have a .290 average.

The Series
-UCF won its first C-USA series against Houston in 2009, which was the Cougars' last trip to Orlando.
-Last season the Knights earned a 7-4 win in game one in Texas only to have UH storm back to claim victories in the final two contests.
-Houston currently leads the series, 18-7.

Turn it Up D.J. Hicks
-Designated hitter D.J. Hicks went off against FAU, Florida and Memphis en route to being named:
-Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week
-NCBWA Pro-Line Athletic National Hitter of the Week
-C-USA Hitter of the Week
-CollegeBaseballInsider.com Region Player of the Week
-CB360 Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll
-College Baseball Foundation National All-Star Lineup
-The redshirt sophomore went 10-for-21 for a .476 average, crushing three homers including a grand slam and drove in 13. Hicks had a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .542 OBP to guide UCF to a 4-1 record April 19-24.
-Hicks became the third different Knight in the last three years to earn national player of the week status (Shane Brown in 2009 and Darnell Sweeney in 2010).
-Hicks currently leads UCF with a .356 average.

Batting Last Paying Off
-Seeing his name in the No. 9 hole for the opener at East Carolina April 15 may have been a surprise, but junior catcher Beau Taylor took it in stride.
-In his first start in that spot in the order, Taylor went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI vs. the Pirates.
-In all, Taylor has gone 11-for-27 in seven games from the No. 9 hole, banging out five doubles, driving in eight runs and scoring eight times.
-Entering the ECU series, Taylor was hitting .294, but now has a .315 average thanks to at least two hits in his last four outings.

Keep Fighting
-In the month of April, UCF has posted come-from-behind wins of at least six runs twice.
-Trailing Tulane 7-0 in the sixth inning, the Knights scored once in the sixth and seventh, two in the eighth and four in the ninth for the 8-7 victory April 10.
-Then on April 23 at Memphis, the Tigers scored six times in the first inning only to watch as the Knights responded right away, with D.J. Hicks delivering the big blow with a seventh-inning grand slam for the 11-9 triumph.

Lefties or Righties - It Doesn't Matter
-With a .310 team batting average, the Knights are not having trouble getting hits this year. And for some batters, if it has been a southpaw or a righty on the mound it has not made a difference.
-Left-handed hitters D.J. Hicks (.404) and Derek Luciano (.303) each have better averages vs. lefties.
-Right-handed hitters Jonathan Griffin (.345), Erik Hempe (.338) and Travis Shreve (.333) all enjoy at least a .333 average vs. righties.

Starting Off Right...
-Friday-night starter Brian Adkins has been dominant in the first inning this year, going 8.0 scoreless innings with only four hits against and having three strikeouts.
-In the second inning, Ben Lively and Ray Hanson have each pitched 8.0 scoreless frames with a combined 17 strikeouts, and in the third, Adkins has not allowed a run in 8.0 innings, giving up just four hits and striking out five.

...And Ending Strong
-To try and help those starters preserve the win, Nick Cicio has been virtually lights out in the seventh and eighth innings. In those two innings this year, the lefty, who has four saves, has worked a total of 21.0 innings and has given up only three runs on 12 hits.
-And in the ninth, Joe Rogers (who has six saves) has tossed 14.1 innings, surrendering only two earned runs, walking only one and striking out 16.

Useless Stat of the Day
-Second baseman Travis Shreve has 50 assists in C-USA games.

Breaking Windshields
-Including homering in four-straight games April 8-12, senior Jonathan Griffin has put one over the wall in seven of his last 12 games.
-The first baseman now has 11 on the year, and also has 24 for his career, which is tied with Sam Nattile for 10th on the UCF all-time list.
-Griffin is the only Knight in the top-10 to be on the UCF roster for less than three seasons.