Golden Knights Ready for NCAA Play

May 19, 2005

GAINESVILLE - The UCF softball team will make its first appearance at the NCAA Regional Tournament when the squad travels to Gainesville, Fla. from May 20-22. The Golden Knights take on Gainesville Region seed No. 3 USF on Friday at 1 p.m., with No. 1 seed Florida taking on No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman at 3:30 p.m.

Stephanie Best paces the offense with a .335 batting average, 25 home runs, 56 RBI and 146 total bases. She has a team-high slugging percentage of .764. Jania Shinhoster leads the team in hits with 70 and is second in batting average at .311 with 13 doubles, four triples and five home runs.

As a team, UCF is hitting .269 with 49 home runs.

Lindsay Enders anchors the pitching staff with a 25-13 record and a 1.58 ERA. She leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 186 as opponents are only hitting .200 against her.

As a team, the Golden Knights have an ERA of 2.23, while opponents are batting .232.

Best tops the Atlantic Sun in home runs, walks (59), runs scored (56), RBI, on-base percentage (.492) and slugging percentage, while Enders leads the conference in wins, shutouts (8), innings pitched (283.2), games started (39), appearances (49) and complete games (35).

Nationally, Best ranks first in home runs, seventh in home runs per game (0.34), second in walks per game (0.79) and 24th in slugging percentage, while Cici Alvarez is ninth in sacrifice hits per game (0.37).

UCF defeated Troy twice on Saturday, May 14 in Boca Raton, Fla. to win the 2005 Atlantic Sun Softball Tournament and to earn the A-Sun's automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Golden Knights defeated the Trojans 2-1 in the first game and followed it up with a 3-1 victory in game two.

Enders pitched two complete games against Troy to help secure UCF's chance in the NCAA Tournament. Enders went 2-0 pitching 14 solid innings and giving up two earned runs on nine hits, three walks and two strikeouts.

Best and Shinhoster were both 2-for-4 at the plate for the Golden Knights. Best had two singles and two walks, while Shinhoster had a single, double, one run, two RBI and four walks.

USF is led offensively by Tiffany Stewart. The Odessa, Fla. native is batting .382 with seven home runs, three triples, 10 doubles, 34 RBI and 42 runs. She also leads the Bulls in slugging percentage (.590).

As a team, USF is hitting .291 with 45 home runs.

Bree Spence leads the pitching staff with a record of 21-13 on the season and an ERA of 1.75. Spence has given up 97 runs on 235 hits, 52 walks and 117 strikeouts in 232.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .256 against Spence.

The Bulls have a team ERA of 2.06.

USF was defeated by Houston at the Conference USA Tournament in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, May 13. The Cougars won by a score of 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh when two runs scored on a wild pitch.

Samantha Ray led the Bulls at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Nicole Christensen was tagged with the loss after facing one batter and giving up one run on one hit.

This will be the seventh time that UCF and USF have met on the softball diamond with the Bulls leading the series, 6-0. The last time that these two teams met was on April 20, 2005 in Tampa, Fla. with USF winning, 5-3.

Kacie Feaster was 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles and one run for UCF, while Best and Nicole Balogh scored the other two runs. Enders was pegged with the loss, pitching six innings and giving up five runs on eight hits, four walks and no strikeouts.

The Golden Knights will take on either Florida or Bethune-Cookman on Saturday depending on the outcome of Friday's games. All of UCF's games at the tournament will be broadcast live via the internet at www.ucfathletics.com along with live stats.