ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After the 2012 Conference USA regular-season title came down to the final contest in Orlando, the 2013 meeting between UCF and No. 14 Rice will have plenty of implications once again as the two teams go head-to-head beginning Friday night at 7:30 p.m. EDT from Reckling Park.
The initial showdown between the Knights (18-16, 4-5) and Owls (24-11, 6-3) will by played in front of a national audience as Fox College Sports (Bright House: 187, Comcast: 724, U-verse: 649) will broadcast the game with Daron Sutton and Preston Wilson calling all of the action. Each contest will also be streamed free of charge on Stretch Internet radio.
For UCF, the weekend in Houston will bring an end to the eight-game road trip it is in the midst of, and also a chance for the first wins in the month of April.
On the mound, head coach Terry Rooney has elected to switch things up with redshirt senior LHP Chris Matulis (3-2, 3.72 ERA) getting the Friday-night nod against C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year Austin Kubitza (4-1, 1.22 ERA).
Righty Ben Lively (5-3, 0.61 ERA) will look for his 20th-career victory on Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT when he faces off with RHP Jordan Stephens (4-2, 2.35 ERA). The Gulf Breeze native is already 1-0 at Reckling Park, earning a victory in his first-career Friday night start on March 25, 2011.
Both teams have yet to determine a Sunday starter for the matinee at 2 p.m. EDT.
In C-USA play this year, both teams find themselves atop many of the team rankings. The Knights, through nine league games, lead in runs scored (44), RBI (43), total bases (108) and runners picked off (5). The Owls pace the conference in hits (80), total plate appearances (363) and sacrifice bunts (15) while ranking second in ERA (2.58).
• The last time the Knights visited Reckling Park in 2011, they came away with a 2-1 series win #LookingToDuplicate
• With 246-career hits, 3B Chris Taladay is just five base-knocks shy of No. 7 on the #UCF all-time hit list #YouAreNextShaneBrown
• After his 15th multi-hit game Sunday, Taladay is tied for 19th in the nation with 51 base-knocks this year #PutItInPlay
• Despite a pair of earned runs last weekend, Ben Lively's season ERA of 0.61 is the 6th lowest in the country in the NCAA rankings, #AceHighFlush
• Lively also owns a 1.17 ERA in 92 innings of work with 88 strikeouts since April 20, 2012 #Going4CareerWin20
• Walk-on infielder Bret Gordon has made the most of his three starts, tallying four hits and an RBI #MaximumEffort
• In the latest @NCAA rankings, Fr RHP Zac Favre still leads the nation in hits allowed per nine innings with 16 in 33.2 IP this year #RightOn
• Eight Knights have gone yard in 2013 as the team leads @ConferenceUSA1 with 19 home runs and 419 total bases #ADIOS
Ten Voucher packages are now on sale for only $50. Select the games that you want to attend for a discounted price. Voucher packages and single-game tickets can be purchased by calling 407-UCF-1000 or visit the baseball tickets page. Stay up-to-date on all the latest news by visiting UCFAthletics.com and following the team on Twitter (@UCF_Baseball) and Facebook.