Back to the Berg: Green Wave series next
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 16:04
When UCF met Tulane on the diamond last season, shortstop Darnell Sweeney was 11-for-13 with a home run.
Sweeney will look to repeat last year's performance this weekend, when the Knights take on the Green Wave in a three-game weekend home series.
In Tuesday night's victory against the No. 4 Florida Gators, Sweeney proved to be the Knights' clutch player of the game after hitting the game-winning double in the ninth inning, driving in two runs.
This weekend's series against Tulane gives Sweeney and the Knights the opportunity to continue to bounce back after dropping out of the Collegiate Baseball rankings last weekend after being swept by Conference USA rival Southern Miss.
Last season, the Knights won their final game of the season in just seven innings against the Green Wave.
Last time the Knights faced Tulane in a series, Johnny Sedlock was the Friday starter and got the win. Joe Rogers, who pitched in relief in the Saturday game, got a loss. Brian Adkins, last year's Sunday starter and this weekend's Friday starter, got the win in Game Three.
Adkins will enter the weekend rotation for the first time this season on Friday night against Tulane. The sophomore has been the weekday non-conference starter throughout the season, but after the Southern Miss series the Knights need a strong arm in their weekend rotation.
Head coach Terry Rooney has said all season that Adkins needs to beat the big teams this season; now that the Knights are into conference play, they will play big teams every weekend.
"At the end of the day, we play every game to win," Rooney said on Sunday after UCF's first series loss of the season. "Every game matters, RPI-wise, bid-wise, but at the end of the day you've got to win your conference games."
Adkins is 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA; his losses were to Miami and No. 14 Southern Miss.
Lively, who has worked his way from starting Sundays to starting Fridays, was ejected from last Friday's game and thus suspended four games; he can't start until Saturday. Lively is 5-0 and has a 1.88 ERA.
The season started with Danny Winkler starting on Fridays, but last Saturday in his start against Southern Miss, the junior only made it 1-1/3 innings before he was pulled.
Hanson (2-1) has pitched more innings this season than any other Knight and will stay in the Sunday slot of the rotation.
What to watch for
— The UCF pitching staff. The Knights have the third-highest team ERA (as of April 3) in C-USA.
— UCF also has the third-highest team batting average (as of April 3) in C-USA.
— Tulane's Jeremy Schaffer has the third-highest batting average in C-USA. Schaffer is batting .382 and has one home run.
— Rogers. In Game Three against Southern Miss, the closer pitched a individual season-high four innings. Expect Rogers to close a game this weekend.
— RPI changes. The NCAA released its first RPI report of the season on Tuesday and UCF was No. 32. Southern Miss was No. 2 and Florida was No. 1. If the Knights can win their Tulane series after upsetting Florida, their RPI should rise.
— Tulane and UCF were both ranked last week. Both teams were swept in C-USA play during the weekend and lost their rankings.
— Five of Tulane's pitchers have faced injuries this season, some of whom are out for the season.
— The Green Wave dropped a midweek contest to No. 17 LSU.