April 4, 2008
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The Knights finally return home this weekend when they host No. 9 Houston in a three-game C-USA series at the UCF Softball Complex. Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m., and is also 80's Knight at the field, where fans can take part in 80's trivia, the sports marketing t-shirt toss and foul ball frenzy. Sunday's series finale is set to get underway at Noon.
Previewing No. 9 Houston
The Cougars travel to Orlando with a 31-4 record on the season and a flawless 9-0 record in C-USA contests, good for a No. 9 ranking in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top-25 Poll. Houston has posted wins over teams such as Texas, DePaul, Kansas, Fresno State, Marshall, Memphis and Southern Miss, while falling to Texas A&M, DePaul and Virginia Tech.
Laurie Wagner paces the Cougar's offense with a .433 batting average, 11 doubles, nine home runs, 77 total bases, a .510 on-base percentage and a .856 slugging percentage. In the circle, Angel Shamblin boasts an 18-2 record on the season, while registering a 0.59 ERA in 130.0 innings pitched.
The Knights have yet to win a game against the Cougars, holding a 0-7 record against the team.
We Didn't Start the Fire
With its win over North Florida Wednesday night, UCF extended its winning streak to 13 games, while posting wins in 17 of its last 19 contests. The streak is the longest for the Knights since the 2004 season when the team registered a string of 14-consecutive wins. The longest steak in program history occurred in 2002, when the Black and Gold won 21-straight contests from Feb. 8-March 14.
Another One Bites the Dust
A big reason for the Knights' success this season is the pitching of senior Allison Kime. The hurler has won 11-consecutive decisions since March 12 and has posted a 0.58 ERA, allowing only six earned runs in 73.0 innings pitched during the stretch. Kime has also recorded 96 strikeouts during the streak, which includes 28 Ks in the series sweep over Marshall last weekend. Kime needs four more wins to match Dottie Cupp's 15-game win streak accomplished during the 2002 season.
Lindsay Dean's grand slam in UCF's seven-run sixth inning paced the Knights to a 7-0 victory over in-state rival North Florida in Jacksonville Wednesday night. The grand slam was Dean's fourth home run of the year and her only four-run home run of her career. Cat Snapp finished 2-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI and Allison Kime improved to 18-7 after holding UNF to two hits in the complete game while posting 11 strikeouts.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
UCF has three different players rank in the NCAA Top 25 in various categories this week, with senior Allison Kime leading the way with two top-25 marks, while Breanne Javier and Ashleigh Cole recorded one apiece. Kime ranks 10th in the nation with 17 victories in the circle this season, while posting a No. 22 ranking in ERA, with a 0.94 mark. Javier ranks in at No. 22 in the `Toughest to Strikeout' category, while Cole's 1.2 walks allowed per seven innings is 25th in the country.
Two additional Knights posted top-50 marks, with Tiffany Lane taking the No. 34 spot with 0.91 runs scored per game, and Hillary Barrow holding down the 35th spot with three sacrifice flies this season.
When We Was Fab
Freshman Abby McClain was 5-for-7 in the three-game league series with Marshall last weekend, posting a .714 batting average, a .857 slugging percentage and a .778 on-base percentage against the Herd. In the series finale on Sunday, the freshman was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and one run scored to lead the Knights to their first C-USA series sweep on the road and their 12th-straight victory on the season. During the series, McClain also registered a walk, was hit by a pitch and recorded a sacrifice hit, while totaling three RBI.
In the Groove
The Knights series sweep over Marshall last weekend marked the first time since joining Conference USA that they claimed all three games on the road. Its two-straight league sweeps are the most since the inaugural season in C-USA in 2006 and marks the first time the Knights have swept two conference opponents in the same season since that time. UCF holds sole possession of second place in C-USA with a 9-3 record.
That Was Then, This Is Now
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 15-2 record. The sophomore has registered eight hits, four runs and four 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.
We Got the Beat
With the series sweep over Marshall last weekend, the Knights are off to their best C-USA start since joining the league in the 2006 season. Their 9-3 record through the first four series in 2008 bests last years' 6-6 mark through 12 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 over UAB and sweeps over Tulsa and Marshall.
You Dropped a Bomb on Me
UCF has totaled nine home runs on the 2008 season, with every round-tripper coming on the road. The Knights' home fans have yet to see a home run from the Black and Gold this season, after seeing only six total home runs at the UCF Softball Complex in 2007. Lindsay Dean paces the UCF home-run hitters with four on the season, including a grand slam in the Knights' win over North Florida Wednesday night. Five additional Knights have posted one home run this season.
Up Where We Belong
The UCF softball team received a vote in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll released March 25, tying them for No. 33 in the nation with Maryland and Florida State. The Knights were 25-14 when the poll was released and have won six-straight game since that time, while registering a 9-3 Conference USA mark.
The vote marks the first time since 2004 that the Knights have been given a tally in the coaches' poll, posting a No. 30 ranking and finishing the season with a 42-21 record that year.
UCF was one of two Conference USA schools to grace the poll, with Houston posting the No. 11 ranking for the second-consecutive week.
One Thing Leads to Another
The second edition of the NFCA/Warren Nolan Division I Softball Ratings Percentage Index was released Thursday, with the UCF softball team ranking in at No. 33 in the country, up five spots from last week's poll. The Knights' position was the second-highest, behind Houston (12), in Conference USA and third highest among Division I schools in the state of Florida, trailing first-place Florida and 26th-place Florida State.
The RPI was based on UCF's record through all 45 games this season. The Knights hold a 31-14 record in 2008 and are currently on a 13-game winning streak.
The index also rated teams on their strength-of-schedule for the 2008 season, with the Knights ranking in at No. 53. The Black and Gold has faced three teams among this week's Top 25, while playing three teams receiving votes, securing wins over both Baylor and No. 17 Long Beach State. UCF is also set to play No. 9 Houston this weekend and Florida State on April 9 at the UCF Softball Complex, while trying to reschedule at game at No. 3 Florida after getting rained out earlier in the season.
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