GAME THREAD: #22 FAU vs #6 UCF- March 31st, 2015 @ 6:30 PM
What: #22 FAU (22-6, 6-3 C-USA) vs #6 UCF (22-7, 2-1 American)
When: Tuesday, Mar. 31st at 6:30 PM
Where: Jay Bergman Field
The Owls trail 27-41 all time but swept the Knights in 2013, winning 10-2 in Orlando before a 4-3 victory in Boca.
Projected Starting Pitchers:
FAU - LHP Sean Labsan (1-0, 4.00 ERA)
UCF - RHP Trent Thompson (0-2 10.67 ERA)
The annual home and home series between FAU and 6th ranked UCF opens in Orlando, with the Owls putting their 22-6 overall and 6-1 away record up against the Knights 22-7 overall and 17-3 home record.
Going into the contest, D1Baseball has FAU at 7 in RPI with a strength of schedule at 33. UCF has put up its numbers against a strength of schedule of 74 and stands at 12 in RPI. Against top 25 teams in RPI, FAU holds a slight 4-4 to 3-4 advantage. While the Owls have played only 4 games against teams with an RPI of over 150, the Knights have played 10 games against the bottom half in D1.
UCF is coming off a 2-1 home series win over a strong Houston team to open its AAC play. The Owls came home with their own 2-1 series win at UTSA. In the Knights game Sunday, the likely intended starter to face FAU, Zach Rogers, came in relief and pitched 8 innings to get the win.
In the match ups, the most notable statistical difference is the Knights' lead in home runs with 43 versus the 18 for the Owls. The first instinct is to point out the hitter-friendly confines of Jay Bergmann Field, which at 320 down the lines, 360 to the gaps, and 390 is much more favorable to hitters than the 330, 375, 400 dimensions at FAU Baseball Stadium. However, 15 of the Knights 43 home runs have come in the Knights 9 road games, and they average slightly fewer HR at home than on the road. Those HR provide the Knights with a .536 to .440 SLG advantage over the Owls. The Knights boast more modest advantages in BA, .327 to .311, and OBP at .422 to .409. The Owls may be more disciplined at the plate, drawing nearly 1 more BB and 2 fewer K per 9 IP than the Knights.
The Owls have a clear advantage in overall pitching, with a team ERA of 3.17 to 4.87 for the Knights, and strike out nearly 3 more batters a game than the Knights' staff. Sean Labsan extends that advantage with an even 9 Ks per 9 IP to go along with only 3.5 BB/ 9IP. Labsan is also holding opponents to a .219 BA and .375 SLG. Pitching will likely be the primary key to this game. If Labsan has the game in reach and FAU gets to the Knights pen, the Owls appear to have the strong advantage. This should be a good game, and an Owls win will make some noise.
FAU: Kerr 2b, Lashley 1b, Sanger rf, Santiago 3b, Collins cf, Puerta hd, Dicks lf, Chatham ss,Abraham c, Labsan p
UCF: Moore SS, Marsh 2b, Barber rf, Diorio dh, Williams 3b, Heiser c, Salberg cf, Savinon 1b, Woods lf, Thompson p
The 1st pitch into Kerr is taken for a strike and things are under way at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando, with wind blowing out to RC.— FAU Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) March 31, 2015
The Owls jump out to a quick 4-0 lead, still batting top 1, 1 out, Puerta on 1b, LHP Parker Thomas coming in to face Dicks.— FAU Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) March 31, 2015