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February 19, 2013The UCF baseball team faces a big early test tonight as No. 17 Florida pays a visit to Jay Bergman Field.
Both squads are 2-1 after winning their opening series. The Knights cruised to a 7-1 victory against Siena on Friday, struggled in a 7-4 loss on Saturday, but rebounded on Sunday with an 8-2 win. The Gators dropped a 4-3 decision to Duke on Friday, then won back-to-back games (4-2, 16-5) to take the series.
For UCF, a win against a top-20 club could go a long way towards establishing a NCAA Regional resume. In 2011, UCF swept the Gators in the two-game, in-season series and those wins certainly played a role in keeping the Knights on the safe side of the bubble.
Taking the mound for UCF will be senior lefty Brian Adkins, who saw a scoreless inning of work on Sunday. The University High School alum also started the 2010 game at Florida.
Florida will go with junior right-hander Keenan Kish, who allowed two hits and no runs during 1.1 innings of work last Friday.
UCF's offense has been led in the early going by cleanup hitter Chris Taladay (.636) and leadoff man JoMarcos Woods (.538), who both have seven hits apiece.
"We're going to play our game," UCF coach Terry Rooney said. "My biggest emphasis as a team is just playing the game the right way and playing fundamentally sound. We've got to get better. What I mean by that is throw strikes, play catch and get some clutch hits."
A single-game attendance record (3,601) was set in 2011 the last time UCF hosted Florida. That's a mark that could be broken as the school has added to its seating capacity since then. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and purchase tickets in advance.
"We're certainly excited to have the University of Florida come here," Rooney said. "We have a great relationship with their coaching staff. They've got a great program and a very good team. We've had some great games with them. The last time they came here we had an outstanding game and a big crowd. I certainly hope we have a great crowd out there supporting UCF. I think the weather is going to be great, so hopefully a lot of Knight fans will come out on Tuesday at 6:30."