May 21, 2005
GAINESVILLE - As the clock struck midnight, Samantha Ray delivered a walk-off double allowing USF to escape with a 5-4 victory on Saturday night in an elimination game at the Gainesville Regional. The Bulls advance to take on Bethune-Cookman tomorrow afternoon with a berth in the NCAA Super Regional on the line.
UCF finishes the season with a 47-29-1 mark. The 47 victories were the most in program history surpassing the 2002 squad that went 46-19.
"I was so proud of the heart as well as the courage that this squad showed all season long," Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "This was an excellent first showing for our program at Regionals. It's something that we can definitely build on."
USF took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Krista Holle started the frame with a double. Holle came around to score on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Stephanie Best leveled the game at one crushing her NCAA leading 26th home run to straight away center field in the fourth inning.
The Bulls retook the advantage at 2-1 in the fifth manufacturing a run on a sacrifice fly by Holle.
USF used another Holle sacrifice fly, and a RBI single by Danielle Urbanik in the sixth inning to make it 4-1.
The Golden Knights stormed back evening the game at four platting three runs in a magical seventh inning. Crystle Krafft cranked a two-run shot to spark the comeback, and cut the deficit to 4-3.
Nikki Green continued the rally with a single up the middle. Green scored the tying run all the way from first on a RBI double by Kacie Feaster.
"There was no doubt in my mind that these girls weren't going to go down quietly," Luers-Gillispie said. "They have set the bar at a high level for our future teams."
The Golden Knights return four starters and a pair of pitchers next season to compete in its inaugural campaign in Conference USA.
Game Notes: The 47 victories were the most of any squad in program history... By eliminating Florida earlier in the evening, the softball program joined the women's soccer team ousting the Gators from the NCAA's this season... UCF concludes the season 10-20 when the opponent scores first this season... The RBI for Best in the fourth was her 60th RBI of the season... Best matched her sophomore campaign, and remains the only player in program history to drive home 60 runs in a season... Best finished her career with a single in the seventh... She scored on the homer by Krafft which was her 11th on the season in her final at-bat as a Golden Knight... Best and Shinhoster ended the season tied for the team lead with 70 hits... The duo combined for 548 career hits.