April 3, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Fort Lauderdale native Robert Lara has made an immediate impact with the UCF baseball team this year, and his performance has helped him earn a spot on the 2008 Coleman Company Johnny Bench Award Watch List, delivered by AT&T and Papa John's Pizza. Lara joins a list of 38 other catchers from across the country who have been selected to the list by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
A junior who transferred to UCF after playing two seasons at LSU, Lara has posted a .300 batting average through the Knights' first 30 games, and has walked more times than he has struck out (17-16). He has made just three errors behind the plate in 232 opportunities for a .987 fielding percentage, while allowing only 18 stolen bases in 26 games played. Last year, UCF opponents stole 101 bases on the Knights in 130 chances.
Meanwhile, Lara also has scored 22 runs and driven in 12 for the 2008 campaign. He owns a .400 slugging percentage and a .433 on-base percentage.
The watch list will be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists, whom will be announced May 14. Statistics will be compiled on each semifinalist and sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. After those are announced June 3, a final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series with the winner being announced at the 11th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27.
UCF has had two Johnny Bench Award semifinalists recently, with Drew Butera (2005) and Ryan Bono (2006) each representing the Knights.
Lara and his teammates are back in action at Houston this weekend as they resume Conference USA play. Game one is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Season tickets as well as single-game tickets to check out UCF baseball this year are currently available by contacting the UCF Ticket Office at 407-823-1000, or by going online at www.ucfathletics.com, the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.