Fall Practice Underway at UCF

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) – Just over four months after UCF’s 2007 season came to a close, the Knights officially began preparing for 2008 when fall camp opened at Jay Bergman Field Monday. The Black and Gold was greeted with windy conditions and a little bit of rain, as the Knights are hoping to have a few questions answered in the upcoming weeks.

“The weather was a little cooler than it was in the month of September, and the players were anxious to get on the field and start playing baseball,” said head coach Jay Bergman, who is starting his 26th season at the helm of the program. “They’ve been spending a lot of time lifting weights and doing some four-on-one stuff, but now we can get on the field as a team.

“The general attitude of the players has been very good all fall, and it was good the second half of last season. Our players have matured and are understanding the level of competition we are playing in. They are working hard to improve their skills so they will be able to compete at the Conference USA level.

“By the end of the month, I hope that we will have established ourselves defensively, and at least have found out that we have five, maybe six starting pitchers. Offensively we want to be able to move the runners and find out who is going to hit with runners in scoring position. So I think that is what we are looking for at the end of fall practice. If we can accomplish those things, then this fall will be very beneficial.”

Bergman’s squad went 27-32 in 2007 and 7-17 in its second season in C-USA. The Knights went 1-2 in the C-USA Championship, eliminating Houston May 24 in what was the first 1-0 win in league tournament history. For 2008, UCF returns all eight of its defensive starters, its top three starting pitchers and its closer. However, the Black and Gold lost its designated hitter (senior Matt Horwath – .336 BA) and two key setup men (senior Brian Brooks – UCF’s career record-holder in relief appearances with 82, senior Derek Abriola – ranks fifth in relief appearances with 62).

On Monday, UCF was working hard at moving runners from second base with less than two outs and did not seem to be having difficulties sending the ball to right field. Sophomore third baseman Chris Duffy, meanwhile, discovered a groove in batting practice, placing numerous line drives into the outfield grass.

In a short live-game session, the coaching staff got a look at LSU transfer Robert Lara behind the plate, and he immediately showed off his defensive tactics by backing up a wild throw to first base to keep the runner from going to second. The staff also got its first glimpse of junior-college transfer Colin Arnold, as the 47th-round MLB draft pick saw time in left field.

Team two completed their inning at the dish when senior catcher/first baseman Tim Russell drove in junior outfielder Chadd Hartman from second base on a single down the right-field line. With team one at the plate, junior first baseman Kiko Vazquez, senior second baseman Dwayne Bailey and junior shortstop Eric Kallstrom all ripped line drives to lead-off the inning. And Duffy sent a hard shot to the gap in right-center that would have been a double if the wind did not hold it up long enough for the outfield to get to it. On the bases, senior right fielder Ryan Richardson received a lot of praise for his work in breaking up a double play with a hard slide into second base. UCF coaches Craig Cozart and Bryan Peters did the pitching for the Knights.

UCF’s fall camp is scheduled to come to a close in early November.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com – the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

Jett Ruiz turns up at San Diego

Jett Ruiz formerly a catcher with the Boston College Eagles has turned up with the San Diego Toreros. He left the Boston College program last season late in the year over the emergence of freshman catcher Tony Sanchez Jr. Ruiz will enter San Diego as a junior but will likely not see much time behind the plate with Logan Gelbrich expected to handle the pitching staff in 2008. Ruiz struggled mightily in the ACC the last two seasons. He showed a few glimpses of talent but could not become a consistent hitter.

San Diego releases Fall Schedule

The San Diego baseball program has released their fall schedule for 2007. They will play 13 intrasquad scrimmages with three games against Long Beach State scheduled from October 26th-28th with the first two games at Long Beach State and the final game hosted by the Toreros. They will finish the fall with a Fall World Series on November 16th and 17th. The full schedule is available here.

Yale 2008 schedule is out

The Yale Bulldogs have released their 2008 schedule. They will open the season on March 1st when they start a three game set against George Washington. They will then head out on a 15 day road trip where they will play 15 games against seven different opponents including perennial national power South Carolina on March 11th and 12th. The Bulldogs will play conference opponents Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, and Brown at Yale Field. The Bulldogs have conference road games against Penn, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth. Yale will play interstate rival UConn in Storrs on March 26th and Quinnipiac in Hamden on April 2nd. The full schedule for the Bulldogs is available here.

Quinnipiac knocks off Yale to take City Series

The Quinnipiac Bobcats knocked off the Yale Bulldogs over the weekend by a score of 5-2. The Bobcats took advantage of a key Bulldog error in the bottom of the third which gave the Bobcats an early 2-0 lead. The Bobcats would extend the lead to get the 5-2 victory. In the consolation game, Southern Connecticut State knocked off New Haven 8-2. A full recap is available here.

Princeton releases 2008 schedule

The Princeton Tigers have released their 2008 schedule. It begins on March 1st and 2nd when the Tigers head down to Delaware for a pair of doubleheaders. They will also play weekend OOC road series against Richmond, UNC-Greensboro, and Navy before opening up Ivy League play. The Tigers will open Ivy League play on March 29th when they host Dartmouth and March 30th when they host the Crimson of Harvard. The Tigers will also host Ivy League opponents Penn and Cornell. They will head on the road to take on Yale, Brown, and Columbia. The full schedule is available here.

Columbia installing Fieldturf for 2008 season

NEW YORK – The series of recent upgrades to Columbia’s baseball facilities continues this fall, when Columbia Athletics will install a state-of-the-art artificial surface at Andy Coakley Field. The surface will allow the team to practice at its home venue earlier in the year.

On September 4, installation of the FieldTurf™ infill system will begin. It is the same surface used at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and Columbia Soccer Stadium. Renovation of the field will be completed in November, allowing the field to set during the winter months.

“We are delighted to embark on this project to support our varsity baseball program,” says Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education. “This will be an outstanding field that illustrates our commitment to Columbia Baseball, as we continue to strive for quality and excellence in all that we do. We are dedicated to providing the best experience for our student-athletes, and that commitment includes providing the best possible facilities.”

The surface will be a hybrid fiber, rubber and sand infill blend designed to have a more consistent feel. It will cover both the infield and outfield, with the only dirt covering the mound and home plate. The surface will be more resilient than the current grass field, and will allow the team more practice opportunities.

The resurfacing of the playing surface at Andy Coakley Field has been made possible through a combination of charitable gifts from interested donors, friends and alumni.

“The ‘new’ Andy Coakley Field is going to help take Columbia Baseball to a new level,” says Brett Boretti, head coach of baseball. “It will allow us to practice and play outdoors in February, earlier than ever before.”

These improvements come just months after Andy Coakley Field received major upgrades that included the installation of 250 chairback seats, a press box, an extended major league-style backdrop behind home plate and an improved sound system.

A modern batting cage was installed in left field, bullpens were reconfigured, and a strengthened retaining wall was put in place along the right field line.

“With the installation of the FieldTurf, Andy Coakley Field will also be one of the best baseball facilities in the league,” Boretti states. “We are excited and looking forward to showing our recruits and our team our new facility.”

“By installing a state-of-the-art surface at Andy Coakley Field, we are continuing consistent and significant improvement of this facility, which ranks it among the best baseball venues in the Ivy League,” adds Dr. Murphy.

The three FieldTurf facilities at Baker Field Athletics Complex – Columbia Soccer Stadium and Lawrence A. Wien Stadium are the other two – plus the Desso Sportilux SV 37 “water-based” polypropylene turf for field hockey, makes the entire complex versatile and durable for year-round and multiple-team use.

While the FieldTurf is being installed at Andy Coakley Field, the baseball team will use an alternate site for fall practices in preparation for the 2008 season.

The installation follows a season in which Columbia Baseball posted its most wins since 2003.

Stanford Releases 2008 schedule!

Mark Marquess has put together a very impressive schedule for the 2008 season. It includes home games against big 12 foe Nebraska at the Sunken Diamond as well as CS Fullerton visiting a week later. Then they go on the road to Austin Texas to play against a very talented ball club in University of Texas. Coach Mark Marquess has been at the helm of Stanford Baseball for 32 years. Coach Marquess has always put together a very High Quality product at Stanford and this year will be no different. Look for Stanford to make some noise this year in Pac 10 play as they get closer to Regional tournament time. For the full article click here.