Softball Prepares For Quick Journey to Bethune-Cookman Tuesday

Feb. 12, 2007

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ORLANDO - After opening the 2007 season with a 3-2 record at the FAU Miken Invitational, the UCF softball team stays in Florida for a one-game showdown at Bethune-Cookman Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m. in Daytona Beach, Fla., and will be the final game before the Golden Knights travel to Las Vegas for the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic this weekend.

Tuesday's Opponent
UCF dropped two of three games to Bethune-Cookman last season, splitting a doubleheader in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and suffering a 4-3 loss in the UCF Tournament. The Wildcats went 30-29 in 2006 and return six starters this season. In all, the Golden Knights lead the all-time series, 8-4.

FAU Tournament Recap
Allison Kime provided UCF the spark it needed in the first game of the season, sending a three-run homer to left center in her first at-bat to help defeat Miami (Ohio), 6-3. She also earned the win in the circle by striking out eight hitters and allowing just one earned run. Although FAU defeated UCF, 10-0, that night, the Black and Gold posted two 2-0 shutouts over North Florida and Pittsburgh the next day. Kime gave up just two hits to the Ospreys, while Ashleigh Cole surrendered three hits. UNF, though, came right back the next day in bracket play to take a 2-1 decision over the Knights.

Impressive First Weekend
Freshman hurler Ashleigh Cole gave up only two earned runs to FAU Feb. 9 in her first collegiate start, but dazzled in her next outing. Facing Pittsburgh Feb. 10, Cole locked up her first UCF shutout by limiting the Panthers to just three hits. She finished with a 1.64 ERA in two starts.

At the plate, Cici Alvarez concluded the FAU Tournament with a .429 average, posting six hits and swiping four bases.

Inching Closer
With four steals on the season, Cici Alvarez keeps moving closer to becoming UCF's career leader. Jania Shinhoster currently holds the record of 74, but Alvarez needs just seven more to claim sole possession of first place.

First Time For Everything
With a three-run home run in the opener vs. Miami (Ohio) Feb. 9, pitcher Allison Kime became the first Golden Knight to ever hit a homer in her first at-bat of a new season. Kime's shot to left center gave UCF a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and helped her post a 6-3 victory in the circle.

A Milestone Awaits
With three victories in Boca Raton to start the year, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie moved her career NCAA Division I win total to 399. She accummulated 86 wins at Bradley, 119 at Texas Tech and 194 at UCF in 13 seasons in the dugout.

New Home For the Knights
The Golden Knights start off 2007 in a brand new softball stadium, with their first game against Hofstra Feb. 21. The state-of-the-art facility includes a spacious lockeroom, a lounge area, a training room, comfortable offices for each coach and a conference room. The stadium was finished last year and the Golden Knights were able to end their 2006 season with a few meetings on the brand new field. UCF's opening game at the new facility occurred March 14, 2006, where it faced its first C-USA opponent in the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.This year, however, the girls are ready to dominate on their new home field as they have been practicing at the new facility and can now feel truly at home.

Dominating Regular-Season Tournaments
In five seasons of UCF softball, the Golden Knights own an impressive 98-57-1 record in regular-season tournaments. They will look to improve on that in the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic this weekend.

Returning in 2007
This season is looking good for the Golden Knights with a team of top returning players. Senior third baseman Cici Alvarez had a memorable season last year that included a batting average of .313 and 22 stolen bases. Senior outfielder Kacie Feaster led the team last season in home runs (five), doubles (eight) and total bases (71), and was second in runs scored (20), hits (46) and RBI (22). Senior shortstop Amber Lamb tied for first on the team in doubles (eight) and was second in home runs (three) and total bases (62). She placed third in hits (45) and RBI (19) and was eighth in Conference USA in assists (111).

What's New in 2007
UCF will have five new members to add to the Golden Knights softball roster for 2007. This list includes freshman second/third baseman Hillary Barrow, freshman outfielder Morgan Bullard, freshman pitcher Ashleigh Cole, junior outfielder Marquita Council and junior infielder Megan Murphy. Council played in 43 games at Santa Fe Community College before coming to UCF. She led the team in on-base percentage (.475) and stolen bases (30), was third in batting average (.394) and fourth in runs (33). Cole completed her high school pitching career with 719 strikeouts and a 0.44 ERA and was named to the Florida 5A all-state first team twice and the second team as a freshman and a sophomore.

Softball Broadcast Schedule
Almost the entire UCF home softball schedule will be broadcast over the internet this year. Twenty-six out of the 29 home games can be heard from a live broadcast at www.UCFAthletics.com. The broadcasts begin on Feb. 21 in the home opener against Hofstra, and will be on hand for four of the five games of the UCF Tournament Feb. 23-25. The first C-USA home contest March 17, a 1 p.m. tilt vs. Southern Miss, also will be available to fans. Meanwhile, every game of the C-USA series with Marshall, UAB and UTEP, along with the C-USA Championships, are on tap as well.