May 20, 2010
By Sarah Tarasewicz
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (35-21) softball team opens NCAA Tournament play Friday when it takes on FIU (36-19) in the first round of the Gainesville Regional hosted by No. 4 overall seed Florida. First pitch for the contest at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Besides the Golden Panthers, the Knights will also meet up with the host Gators (43-8) and Bethune-Cookman (32-22) during the four-team, double-elimination regional.
Each of UCF's games during the NCAA Gainesville Regional will have a live video feed, radio and live stats, via Gametracker. Links to all multimedia can be found at UCFAthletics.com.
Should the Black and Gold win Friday's opener vs. FIU, it would advance to the second round Saturday at 1 p.m. and play the winner of Florida vs. Bethune-Cookman. Should it fall in Friday's contest, UCF will play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against the loser of the Gators vs. Wildcats.
The Black and Gold will be making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the program's nine-year history, all of which have been in Gainesville. UCF holds a 4-4 record when playing in the NCAA post-season, which includes a 3-2 record at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium in 2008, when the Knights played their way into the Regional Championship Game.
Six members of this year's squad, Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.), Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.), Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.), Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) and Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.), were members of the 2008 team and look to make a bigger impression on the national scene this season.
UCF has already faced both Florida and Bethune-Cookman this season prior to heading to Gainesville. The Black and Gold dropped a nine-inning heartbreaker to the Gators, 3-4, at the UCF Softball Complex on March 31 in front of a record crowd, before posting a 9-4 win over the Wildcats in the teams' only meeting on April 21st at home.
Of the 64 teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2010, the Knights have faced 12 teams throughout the season, including No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Florida, No. 6 Georgia, No. 8 Georgia Tech and No. 15 Tennessee. When facing off with those teams, UCF has posted six wins, which includes victories over the Crimson Tide, Nebraska, Ohio State, Tennessee, UAB and Bethune-Cookman.
The Golden Panthers earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after posting a 36-19 record on the season and a 17-8 Sun Belt Conference mark. FIU also holds a 3-0 record in games played against teams participating in the Gainesville Regional, which includes a 2-0 clip vs. the Wildcats and a win over Florida. The all-time series for Friday's match-up between FIU and UCF is even at 2-2.
The Gators host the Gainesville Regional as the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after posting a 43-8 record on the season and a 20-4 Southeastern Conference clip. Ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll, Florida has seven players batting .300 or better, including Michelle Moultrie who leads the team with a .411 average. The Knights are 2-9 vs. Florida all-time, with both wins coming in the 2005 and 2008 Gainesville Regionals.
The Wildcats earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the MEAC Championship Sunday at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex. B-CU posted a 32-22 record on the year. The Wildcats trail UCF in the all-time series 15-4.
The regional winners will advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series May 28-29 at eight campus sites.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.