May 10, 2008
Houston, Texas (www.ucfathletics.com) - Tiffany Lane's (Moreno Valley, Calif.) two-run home run in the sixth inning led the UCF softball team to a, 4-2, win over Houston (50-9) Saturday afternoon at the Cougar Softball Stadium and to the 2008 Conference USA Softball Championship title, its first since joining the league in 2006. With the championship victory, the Knights (46-18) earned the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The freshman shortstop was named the league-tournament MVP for her performance throughout the event. Lane hit .583 with seven hits, a double, a home run, four runs scored and two RBI, while holding a 1.000 fielding percentage in the tournament.
In the championship game, Lane went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI, while junior Javier also posted a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with a RBI. Freshman Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) had two hits in the win, including a lead-off double in the third inning.
UCF scattered 11 hits in the contest off Houston's starting pitcher, Angel Shamblin, the most the senior has given up all season. The hurler's most prior to Saturday's game was nine versus Baylor.
The Knights also posted a new tournament record for batting average in a series, recording a .342 team clip in the three-game event.
Kime picked up the win in the circle for the Knights, allowing only one earned run on seven hits, while striking out seven batters. The pitcher's 24 strikeouts over the weekend were the second-most all-time in a C-USA tournament series, with the record sitting at 25.
Also tying for second place in the all-time record books were Lane in both hits and total bases, and McClain with a pair of doubles.
The game was scoreless through two innings, with both pitchers throwing their best games, before McClain put herself into scoring position right off the bat for the Black and Gold in the third inning, crushing a double off the right centerfield fence. Lane followed up with a bunt single, moving McClain to third base. A throwing error by Houston catcher, Elaina Nordstrom on Lane's stolen base allowed McClain to touch home for the first run of the game. Javier put the Knights up by two runs with one out, lacing a single up the middle of the infield to plate Lane from second base.
Houston cut the UCF lead in half in the bottom of the frame. Bailey Lott reached on a single and advanced to second a wild pitch by Kime, before a throwing error on Christa Raley's bunt allowed Lott to score. The home team evened the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on three-straight singles from the heart of the Cougars' order, which included a RBI single to left field by Jennifer Klinkert.
Ashley Van Ryn (Atlanta, Ga.) led off the sixth inning with a single up the middle, setting up Lane's two-run shot over the right field fence. The home run was Lane's second on the season, with her first being a walk-off, three-run home run in the win over Long Beach State on Feb. 14.
Shamblin took the loss in the circle for the Cougars, falling to 32-3 on the season.
The Knights embark on their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament following their win over Houston Saturday. 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