Jan. 30, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - When the calendar turns to the month of February, the action on the UCF baseball field will heat up dramatically. The Knights will finally be able to hold their first team practice of the spring on Sunday at 1 p.m., as they will practice for close to three weeks before Opening Day on Feb. 20 vs. Virginia Commonwealth.
Practice No. 1 will include a scrimmage at approximately 2 p.m. and it will be open to the public. The Knights also will hold intra-squad games on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while Mondays will be their off days.
First year head coach Terry Rooney is hoping this schedule will help his team quickly adjust to life when the 2009 season gets underway.
"We have outlined our scrimmages to mimic our regular season," said Rooney. "Everything that we are doing practice-wise is to try and duplicate what we will be doing during the actual season. Two of the main priorities as we get ready to begin the first week of practices are to get out there and review the fundamentals from a team standpoint, and also get out there and play.
"The main factor in these scrimmages is also to get these guys back into competition mode. We haven't been in competition mode since the end of October. So that's really an emphasis for us, along with being fundamentally sound.
"And one of the most important things is for our pitchers to get their pitch count up. In order to do that we've got to play scrimmages. The majority of the days, we will play four to eight innings to get our pitchers going and get our guys into live situations. In the winter and in these few weeks prior to our team practices, each player has improved dramatically in the areas they needed to work out during these individual workouts. Now it's time to get going as a team."
So early on, what is Rooney planning for his pitchers as they prepare for their 56-game regular-season schedule?
"During this first week of fall practice, every single person regardless of their role will be on a similar pitch count," admitted Rooney. "I want to get everybody's stamina and endurance up to a certain level. Beginning in the second week, that's when we will start penciling guys into roles from a pitching standpoint. So right now, everyone is achieving a certain pitch count. On Feb. 9, potential starters and long relievers will continue to increase their pitch counts while guys who will be middle and short relievers, they will throw less pitches but on a more consistent basis."
Baseball season and single-game tickets are on sale now for the 2009 campaign. Call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 for more information. Fans may also visit UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, and is the home of UCF's online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.