UCF Welcomes Jacksonville, Iowa to the UCF Softball Complex

March 18, 2008

Orlando. Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Following a Conference USA series win over UAB last weekend, the UCF softball team gears up for a pair of non-conference match-ups with Jacksonville and Iowa March 19-20 at the UCF Softball Complex. Wednesday's game against the Dolphins is scheduled for 5 p.m., while Thursday's contest with the Hawkeyes is set for 1:30 p.m.

Previewing Jacksonville
The Dolphins enter Wednesday's contest with a 13-21 overall record and a 1-3 Atlantic Sun record. JU has registered wins over teams such as Minnesota, Florida State, Coastal Carolina, Maine and Mercer, while falling to teams such as UNC Greensboro, Michigan State, UAB, Penn State and NC State.

Katie Kelly paces the Jacksonville offense with a .320 batting average, three doubles, 18 RBI and a .351 slugging percentage. Jillian Mirante has also put up some big numbers for the Dolphins in 2008, leading her team with 20 runs scored, 33 hits and 19 stolen bases. Shannon Jensen has seen the most innings for the JU pitching staff this season, holding a 2.34 ERA through 95.2 innings pitched.

Wednesday's game marks the 10th between the Knights and the Dolphins, with UCF holding an 8-1 advantage over Jacksonville.

Previewing Iowa
The Hawkeyes travel to the Sunshine State with an 18-6 record on the season and have received votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll. Throughout the season, Iowa has defeated teams such as Miami (Ohio), Illinois State, Louisiana Lafayette, Bowling Green and Stetson, while falling to Arkansas, Arizona State, North Carolina, DePaul, Cornell and Florida State.

The Hawkeyes are led at the plate by Colleen McGlaughlin who is batting .388 with 26 hits, three home runs and 15 RBI. Her .567 slugging percentage and .494 on-base percentage are also tops on her squad. A pair of pitchers have aided in Iowa's success this season, with Amanda Zust holding a 0.58 ERA and Brittany Weil posting a 0.72 ERA for a combined 0.67 team ERA in 2008. Weil has seen the majority of Iowa's innings, striking out 124 batters in 107.2 innings.

Thursday marks the first meeting between the two teams.

Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie registered career victory number 500 as the UCF softball team split a doubleheader with Conference USA-foe, UAB, at George Ward Field Saturday afternoon. The 3-2 victory in the nightcap gave the skipper her milestone win. She currently holds a 501-381-3 career record, while posting a 249-177-1 record at the helm of the UCF squad.

C-USA Player of the Week
Freshman shortstop Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was named the C-USA Hitter of the Week league officials announced Monday. Lane guided the UCF softball team to a 5-2 record over the week, including a series win over UAB and a 3-0 victory against No. 14 Baylor. In the series with the Blazers, Lane was 3-for-10 with a RBI and two runs scored, including the game-winning run in the fifth inning Sunday to clinch the series win. Overall on the week, Lane recorded a hit in every game, while scoring six of the Knights' 15 overall runs. The freshman also swiped five bases through seven games, four of which led to her scoring a run. With her single in the fifth inning of Sunday's contest, Lane extended her hitting streak to eight games, which ties for the longest this season by a Knight. Her 31 runs scored and 18 stolen bases are almost double that of her closest teammate, while her total stolen bases rank first in the league. The honor is the first in Lane's career and the first for the Knights in 2008.

Start Me Up
With the series win over UAB last weekend, the Knights are off to their best C-USA start since joining the league in the 2006 season. Their 3-3 record through the first two series in 2008 bests last years' 2-4 mark through six conference games. The Black and Gold picked up a win in the series with East Carolina in the league-opener for the first time, before picking up a pair of wins last weekend over the Blazers.

UCF Pitcher of the Week
Senior hurler Allison Kime posted a 3-1 record on the week, recording a pair of wins over UAB to help lead the Knights to their first series win of the season. The senior struck out 30 batters in 31.0 innings pitched, while allowing only three earned runs for a 0.68 ERA in four appearances. Kime posted one-hit shut outs against both Liberty and UAB, while allowing only one extra-base hit in four complete games. Her eight strikeouts in Sunday's win over UAB moved her total to 125 in 2008, while also giving her 620 for her career.

Easing Into a New Role
Since leaving the pitching mound for a spot in right field and in the Knights' batting order, Lexi Gresham has helped the Black and Gold to a 5-2 record. The redshirt sophomore has registered four hits, two runs and a RBI since being penciled into the starting lineup in the series finale with East Carolina, while posting a 1.000 fielding percentage as the left fielder.

Season tickets for the 2008 season are still available and can be purchased by calling 407-UCF-1000. For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pics