What should postseason expectations be for UCF baseball?
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 16:05
With the Knights set to get underway at the Conference USA tournament in Pearl, Miss., the postseason the program has been waiting for all year is finally here.
With that in mind, there are a wide array of expectations concerning what the program should accomplish this postseason.
To clarify, the Central Florida Future had four writers weigh in on the topic, laying out what the expectations should be for the next few weeks.
It’s Super Regional or bust
It wasn’t an ideal ending to the season.
Four weeks ago, UCF was sitting at No. 8 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll, in position to host a regional for the first time in school history and atop the Conference USA standings.
Then things started looking a little less perfect.
The Knights went from riding a seven-game win streak to losing half of their final 12 games and missing a chance to claim the C-USA title for the first time in school history in the process.
Despite watching a C-USA title and a chance to host a regional fall through its hands, coach Terry Rooney’s squad is still in a position to make some noise. But it won’t be easy.
Playing on the road in the regionals means that UCF will likely be playing at either Florida or FSU.
Just a reminder, the Knights are 0-3 against those two teams.
While both of the team’s losses to FSU were by one run, College Baseball Daily and Perfect Game both project UCF heading to Gainesville to play the Gators, the team that beat UCF by eight runs this season.
So, let’s recap.
UCF is good at baseball. The team had a great chance to win its conference and host a regional but blew it. Now, in order to make it past regionals, UCF must beat either FSU or Florida (probably).
Will it happen?
The Knights have shown that they can hang with the big boys this year. But you have to do more than just hang — you have to beat them at their place.
It’s time to see if they have the horsepower to make it to Omaha.
Without a question, the members of the UCF baseball team are road warriors. The club currently owns the best road record (15-3) in the nation.
UCF is currently in Pearl, Miss., hoping to win the Conference USA tournament. Being on the road with an impressive lineup, the Knights will have no problem getting by UAB, Tulane and East Carolina. Winning against these three teams will eventually lead to “Championship Sunday,” where they will most likely face Rice for another winner-takes-all match.
To be realistic, neither team can beat the other every time they play.
Last year, UCF won the series against Rice in the regular season but lost the postseason game. This year, I believe the roles will be reversed. But to win against the Owls, the Knights will have to figure out how to recreate what they did a week ago on Thursday and Friday against Rice, when they jumped out to an 8-0 lead in Game One of last week’s series and held the Owls to win the game, 8-6.
Winning the C-USA tournament this weekend means automatically being one step closer to Omaha, Neb., the site of the College World Series.
In order for UCF to host a regional, it needed to finish the season strong. This didn’t happen, so the chances of UCF hosting a regional are not great, but it hasn’t been ruled out.