Records Are Meant to be Broken

June 5, 2007

Records were set, memories were made and goodbyes were said at the conclusion of the successful 2007 UCF softball campaign. The Knights ended the season with a 38-26 record, doubling their win total from a year ago. Three of those wins came at the Conference USA Championship where UCF placed third out of the six-team field in front of the home crowd at the UCF Softball Complex.

Allison Kime pitched 34 of the Knights' 39 innings of the league tournament to cap off her record-breaking season, becoming one of the most dominate pitchers to ever wear a Black and Gold uniform. Her 0.87 ERA ranked fifth among the nation's best pitchers and helped her earn one of 13 spots on the All-Southeast Region First Team. The Brandon, Fla., native also claimed a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team, as well as being named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team.

In a no-hit performance from the circle at Stetson April 4, Kime broke the UCF all-time strikeout record with her 404th punch out, and went on to tally 84 more to total 488 in her two-year career. The hurler also owns UCF's career records in strikeouts per seven innings (6.93), ERA (1.22), complete games (60), shutouts (20), innings pitched (493.0) and batters struck out looking (116). Kime did not stop there. She holds the school's single-season records in strikeouts (266), ERA (0.87), opposing batting average (.159) and shutouts (15) as well.

One of the highlights of this past season took place in Tallahassee, Fla., when Kime pitched 12 innings of scoreless softball against ACC powerhouse and in-state rival Florida State. Not only did the junior pitch the most innings on record that game, but she also struck out the most batters in a game after registering 18 against the Seminoles in the 1-0 victory.

Kime was not the only one setting records for the Knights. As a team, they set 31 total UCF career, season and single-game records. Breanne Javier, who also joined Kime on the All-Conference USA First Team and the C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team, broke single-season records in fielding chances (551), putouts (518) and double plays turned (18).

Throughout the season, the softball squad delighted fans with numerous unforgettable games and memories, which included five extra-inning contests, 12 one-run games and a 23-9 home record. UCF opened the 2007 campaign at the FAU Tournament, winning three games of the five-game stint. The second tournament of the season led the Knights to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Louisville Slugger/UNLV Desert Classic where UCF faced off against one of the country's most prestigious softball schools, UCLA. Despite falling to the Bruins in a 3-0 decision, the Black and Gold took a 3-2 record back to Orlando.

The Knights traveled back home to prepare for an 11-game home stretch over the next eight days, going 7-4 over that period. UCF recorded big wins over Hofstra, Albany, North Florida and completed the stint with a doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan.

The Altamonte Springs Tournament was next on the agenda, where the Knights met up with one of their toughest opponents of the season, the Virginia Tech Hokies. Ashleigh Cole pitched all seven innings, giving up only a single earned run on four hits despite getting tagged with the 2-1 loss.

March 10 marked the start of the Knights' most successful C-USA campaign, when the schedule took them to East Carolina to open league play. The Black and Gold ran into a road block against the Pirates though, dropping all three games. Fortunately, UCF did not let the sweep affect it when the Knights returned to the Sunshine State.

In a non-conference doubleheader against Bethune-Cookman, the Knights scored 17 runs in the first inning of game two, which tied for second-most (Jacksonville, 2004 and Arizona, 2001) in the NCAA Division I record books. UCF's 38 total bases in the second outing smashed the school mark of 31 set in 2005, however it fell one hit shy of tying the record of 22 hits in a ballgame. Meanwhile, Kacie Feaster came within a single of hitting for UCF's first cycle in program history, as she recorded all three of her extra-base hits in the first inning. Also entering the record books, Hillary Barrow posted two triples to become just the second Knight (Stephanie Best, 2003) to accomplish the feat in a game.

UCF went on to win seven of its next nine games which included C-USA series wins over Southern Miss and Tulsa, as well as a doubleheader sweep over Dartmouth and the record-breaking contest at Florida State.

The Knights returned to C-USA action the following weekend and entertained the crowd with a thrilling come-from-behind win over Marshall. After falling down three runs in the opening game, the Knights charged back to take down the Thundering Herd, 4-3, in a nine-inning affair. Barrow tied the game with an RBI double in the seventh before Javier ended it on a RBI triple down the left-field line. The Knights would go on to win the series, 2-1.

Following Kime's unbelievable performance at Stetson, the Black and Gold finished out its regular-season schedule with two non-conference wins over Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic. It also went on to win two more league series, which included a series sweep over UTEP to clinch a spot in the C-USA Championship.

Host UCF used a five-run fifth inning to beat Marshall in the opening game of its 2007 postseason. That evening, however, the Knights fell to eventual tournament champion, Houston, 2-1. In an early morning start the next day, the Black and Gold took care of Tulsa, 1-0, behind a one-hit shutout performance from Kime. A few short hours later, East Carolina fell victim to the Knights 1-2 punch of stellar pitching and timely hitting. Lindsay Dean had a flawless outing at the plate against ECU pitcher Kelli Harrell, going 3-for-3 with a booming home run over the left-field wall. Kime dominated once again in the circle to pick up her third win in two days, putting UCF into the semifinal contest.

A pitching duel broke out in the rematch with East Carolina between Kime and Pirate freshman Toni Paisley. Both hurlers pitched 11 innings of scoreless softball, but a home run by Jessica Johnson in the 12th inning won the game for East Carolina and ended the remarkable season put together by the UCF Knights.

The game was the last for seniors Kacie Feaster, Cici Alvarez and Amber Lamb who provided the much-needed spark and leadership that propelled the Knights to a remarkable season.

Kacie Feaster led her squad in almost every offensive category and ranked in the C-USA top-10 in at least eight of them. Her skills and leadership were rewarded with a spot on the All-Conference USA First Team and the C-USA All-Academic Team, as well as being named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III First Team.

Cici Alvarez led the nation in sacrifice hits this season and ended her career with two UCF all-time records. The third baseman owns career marks in sacrifice hits (98) and stolen bases (79), while her 32 sacrifice hits in 2007 also top the charts. Her stellar performance in the postseason placed her on the C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team roster.

Amber Lamb concluded her four-year career as a Knight tied for the all-time record in sacrifice flies and ranked second in doubles (40). The shortstop was third in the league in assists (134) and tied for seventh in doubles (12). She was named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for the second-consecutive year for her outstanding work in the classroom.

Even though UCF will sorely miss the experience and drive of three of the most prolific players to come through the program, the Knights must prepare for another grueling and competitive season in Conference USA in 2008.