UCF Softball Embarks on Five-Game Road Trip

March 24, 2008

Orlando. Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF softball team looks to extend its seven-game winning streak this week, when it hits the road for five contests, including trips to FAU, FIU and Marshall. The Knights will face the Owls Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the Panthers Wednesday at 5 p.m., before taking on the Thundering Herd in a three-game Conference USA series Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's doubleheader begins at 1 p.m., while Sunday's action begins at Noon.

Previewing FAU
The Owls enter Tuesday's contest with a 22-17 record on the season and a 4-2 Sun Belt Conference record. FAU has posted wins over teams such as NC State, LSU, UNLV, Stetson and Illinois, while falling to teams such as Michigan, Hawaii, Oregon State, Florida Gulf Coast and Western Kentucky.

The Owls are led at the plate by Lauren Crandall, who registers team-highs in hits (33), runs (19) and stolen bases (9), while Caitlin Bliss paces the team in doubles (11), triples (3) and slugging percentage (.512). Amber Barton has see the most innings in the circle for FAU, posting 114 strikeouts in 168.1 innings pitched, while registering a 2.87 ERA and 12-11 record on the season.

The Knights are 5-13 all-time when facing the Owls, posting a 1-2 record against the team last season.

Previewing FIU
The Panthers welcome the Knights to Miami with an 18-21 record on the season and a 4-1 Sun Belt Conference record, registering wins over teams such as Illinois State, Ohio State, UConn, Indiana and Western Kentucky. FIU has fallen at the hands of Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Georgia, Illinois and Arizona State throughout the season.

Monique White leads the FIU offense with a .405 batting average, 49 hits, 31 runs scored, 11 doubles and a .467 on-base percentage, while teammate Kim Rodriguez paces the squad with 13 home runs, 36 RBI and a .758 slugging percentage. In the circle, Kasey Barrett boasts a 14-10 record and 2.59 ERA on the year, while registering 116 strikeouts in 148.2 innings pitched.

The Knights are 1-1 in the all-time series with the Panthers, claiming a 5-1 win in the teams' last meeting in 2005.

Previewing Marshall
The Herd currently possesses a 12-16 record on the season and a 4-4 C-USA record, winning a pair of league series against Memphis and UTEP, while falling in three games to Houston. Marshall will face Arizona and Arizona State in a pair of doubleheaders this week, before welcoming the Knights to Dorothy "Dot" Hicks Field in Huntington, W.Va.

Rachel Folden's .424 batting average, 28 runs scored, 36 hits, 16 doubles and .753 slugging percentage lead the Thundering Herd offense, while Samantha Rodriguez has six home runs and 22 RBI, both marks that are tops on the team. Caitlyn Jackson is Marshall's number one pitcher this season, throwing 86.1 innings and holding a 5-10 record in 2008. The sophomore has recorded 41 strikeouts in 86.1 innings pitched.

The Knights and the Herd are 5-5 all-time when facing each other, with UCF winning three of the last four contests between the two squads.

Streaking Knights
Following its five victories last week, UCF currently holds a seven-game winning streak, and has won 11 of its last 13 games. During the span the Knights have posted wins over East Carolina, No. 14 Baylor, UAB, Jacksonville and Tulsa, while recording 87 hits, 12 doubles, 54 runs and 42 RBI. The streak is UCF's longest since the 2004 season when the Knights recorded 15-consecutive victories from March 12-April 8.

Spring Cleaning
The Black and Gold's series sweep over Tulsa last weekend marked only the second time since joining C-USA in 2006 that it has taken all three games from a league opponent. In 2007, the Knights swept the three-game series with UTEP at the UCF Softball Complex to clinch a berth in the C-USA Championship for this first time in program history.

UCF Player of the Week
Marquita Council helped lead her team to a 5-0 record on the week, including a C-USA series sweep over Tulsa over the weekend, as well as a win over Iowa. The redshirt junior posted a .467 batting average, while registering at least one hit all of the Knights' five contests during the wee. She batted .556 in the series with Tulsa, getting five hits, scoring three runs and dropping a sacrifice hit. Her .556 on-base percentage against Tulsa tied for tops on her squad, while her seven hits on the week were a team high. Council did not strike out once in 15 at bats during the week, while totaling five runs and seven hits. In Friday's doubleheader sweep over the Golden Hurricane, Council posted a 4-for-7 performance at the plate, getting two hits in each contest, and scored two runs in game two. Council registered a hit, a run and a stolen base in the Knights' win over Iowa, a team that was receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll.

UCF Pitcher of the Week
Allison Kime registered four of the Knights' five wins in the circle during the week, picking up three victories in the three-game league series with Tulsa. The senior allowed only one run in 20 innings pitched while posting a 0.35 ERA. Against the Golden Hurricane, she pitched 15 of the 20 total innings and did not allow a single run in three appearances, recording two complete-game shutouts and a 0.00 ERA. She allowed only seven total hits to Tulsa and struck out 15 batters, while walking only two. In the win over Jacksonville, Kime posted 10 strikeouts in five innings pitched, allowing only one run. In the doubleheader with the Golden Hurricane on Friday, she picked up both wins, getting a complete-game shutout, holding Tulsa to only two hits and a walk, while striking out six in game one, while entering game two in relief to pick up her second win of the day. She posted three strikeouts in two innings of work, giving up only one hit. In the Knights', 8-0 victory on Saturday, Kime again posted the complete-game shutout, allowing only four hits and registering six punchouts in 6.0 innings in the circle. In four appearances, the senior gave up only two extra base hits, one to Jacksonville and one in the series finale with Tulsa. At the plate, Kime hit .417 though five games, recording five hits, a double, four runs and four RBI. She posted multiple hits games against Jacksonville and in the opening game vs. Tulsa, while scoring a pair of runs against both Jacksonville and Iowa.

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