Softball Opens 2006 Season at Triple Crown Tournament

Feb. 9, 2006

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ORLANDO, Fla.-The UCF softball team opens the 2006 campaign in St. Augustine at the Triple Crown Tournament against Southern Illinois and Texas Tech. The Golden Knights are coming off a history making 2005 season, when the team made its first NCAA Regional Tournament appearance after winning the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship.

Scouting UCF...UCF returns four starters from the 2005 NCAA Regional Tournament team, including juniors Cici Alvarez, Kacie Feaster and Amber Lamb and sophomore Cat Snapp. Alvarez will anchor third base with Lamb replacing three-time Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Stephanie Best at shortstop. Feaster moves from a utility position to center field after the graduation of Jania Shinhoster. Snapp, who started all 77 games behind the plate last season, will be back there once again. Joining the infield will be freshman Breanne Javier and sophomores Jennifer Tomasetti and Ashley Van Ryn. Tomasetti and Van Ryn will split time at second base, while Javier will hold down first. Ashley Baker will be the lone returning pitcher from the 2005 squad. Baker will be joined by JUCO All-American Allison Kime and freshmen Heather Colson, Lexi Gresham and Magon Paul. Flanking Feaster in the outfield will be junior returnee Nicole Balogh and junior transfer Brittany Walters, along with newcomers Lauren Martin, Michelle Newton, Kaliela Sprague and Heather Younger. Backing up Snapp at catcher are freshmen Laura Dailey and Lindsay Dean. Redshirt freshman Shelly Frick moves from catcher to the designated player role in 2006.

Scouting Southern Illinois...The Salukis open their season at the Triple Crown Tournament for the third time in four years. Southern Illinois lost the bats of Katie Jordan and Maria Damico, who each recorded 14 home runs in 2005. Sophomore Krystal Stein returns to the Salukis line-up after pacing the team a year ago with a .359 batting average. In the circle for Southern Illinois is Cassidy Scoggins, who last season, had a team-high 0.94 ERA. Scoggins recorded 191 strikeouts in 156 innings pitched with a 20-5 record.

Series vs. Southern Illinois...The Golden Knights and the Saulkis last met during the 2003 season where Southern Illinois defeated UCF, 3-2. Stephanie Best led the Golden Knights offensively, going 3-for-3 with a single, a double and a triple. Taylor Sawyer was pegged with the loss after giving up three runs on nine hits and four strikeouts.

Scouting Texas Tech...Under the direction of second-year head coach Teresa Wilson, the Red Raiders open the 2006 season at Jacksonville Thursday, Feb. 9 followed by the Triple Crown Tournament in St. Augustine, Fla. Texas Tech returns 13 letterwinners from a year ago, including six position starters and three pitchers. The team welcomes seven newcomers to the roster. The Red Raiders top returnee is sophomore Jennifer Corkin. Corkin ended the 2005 season with a team-high .287 batting average, 11 doubles and five home runs. In the circle, Erin Crawford returns after posting an ERA of 3.11 with 105 strikeouts in 132 innings.

Series vs. Texas Tech...This weekend's games against Texas Tech will be the first for UCF.

Gillispie and Texas Tech...Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie is no stranger to the Texas Tech softball program. Gillispie spent four years as the head coach of the Red Raiders from 1996-99. During her tenure there, Gillispie earned a 119-123-1 overall record and led the team to a No. 17 national ranking in 1998 and No. 24 ranking in 1999. In 1999, the Red Raiders earned runner-up honors at the NCAA Regional Tournament.

New Faces...2006 marks the first season the Golden Knights are members of Conference USA. For the last four seasons, UCF was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference where the team won the tournament championship in 2005. Of the nine C-USA teams, the Golden Knights have only faced Marshall.

All-American Transfers...The Golden Knights signed two JUCO All-Americans in junior Brittany Walters and sophomore Allison Kime. Walters makes her way to UCF after playing two seasons at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla., while Kime played one season at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, Fla. Walters finished the 2005 season with a team-high .435 batting average and 17 doubles. Kime paced the pitching staff at HCC with 0.93 ERA and a nation-leading 350 strikeouts. She was also the only pitcher at the JUCO level to reach 30 wins last year with a final record of 34-8.

Gillispie's 11...Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie welcomes 11 freshmen to this year's squad. Among the freshmen are three walk-ons and one redshirt freshman. Only three of the 11 freshmen are not from the state of Florida (Lexi Gresham-Fresno, Calif.; Breanne Javier-Castaic, Calif.; and Magon Paul-Virginia Beach, Va.).

Home Grown...The Golden Knights have a 21-woman roster for the 2006 season, 17 of which are from the state of Florida. Of the 17 from Florida, five are from Jacksonville, three from the Palm Beach area, three from the Tampa area, two from the Panhandle, two from the Fort Lauderdale area, one from the Orlando area and one from the Fort Myers area.

Opening Day Success...The 2006 season will mark the first time UCF softball history that the Golden Knights have not opened against a team from the state of Florida. Over the past four years, the Golden Knights have opened against Bethune-Cookman and Florida and own a 4-4 record.

This Date in UCF Softball History...The Golden Knights are 3-1 when playing on Feb. 10, 11 and 12 over the last four years. UCF defeated Ole Miss, 4-2, on Feb. 10, 2002, and Washington, 1-0, and Portland State, 6-5, on Feb. 12, 2005. The only blemish came against Florida on Feb. 11, 2004 when the Gators won, 5-1.

Chasing Records...Juniors Cici Alvarez, Kacie Feaster and Amber Lamb are all ranked amoung the top 10 for career hits, while Alvarez and Lamb are ranked for walks and Alvarez and Feaster are ranked for stolen bases. Lamb is also ranked for doubles, home runs and RBI.