UCF Softball to Battle USF in Opening-Round of NCAA Gainesville Regional

May 15, 2008

NCAA Regional Game Notes

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Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF softball team will make its second appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament when it travels to Gainesville, Fla., May 16-18. The Knights will face USF in the opening round of the Gainesville Regional Friday at 3:30 p.m., with the No. 1 national seed Florida taking on Georgia Tech at 6 p.m. Fans can watch and listen to all the games of the NCAA Gainesville Regional free of charge at www.gatorvision.tv.

Conference USA Champions
The Knights used a two-run home run from freshman Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and the stellar pitching of Allison Kime (Brandon, Fla.) to defeat Houston, 4-2, in the Conference USA Softball Championship title game and earn their second automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament.

Lane earned tournament MVP honors for her play throughout the tournament, which included a 3-for-4, home run, two run, two RBI performance at the plate in the championship game. Also garnering all-tournament team honors were pitcher Kime, first baseman Breanne Javier (Castiac, Calif.), third baseman Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) and right fielder Marquita Council (Orlando, Fla.).

UCF NCAA Tournament History
Both USF and Florida look mighty familiar to the Knights in postseason play, as the Black and Gold has faced the two opponents in its only other appearance in the NCAA Regional in 2005 in Gainesville. The Knights went 1-2 during the tournamet, losing their opening-round contest, 14-3, to the Bulls, before downing the host Gators, 5-3, to keep their season alive. Later that day, UCF fell again to USF, 5-4, to end its dream sesaon.

Stephanie Best led the Black and Gold at the plate during the Regional, batting .600 (6-for-10) with two doubles, a triple, a home run and four RBI. The senior held a 1.300 slugging percentage at the conclusion of the tournament and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Previewing UCF
The Knights enter the Gainesville Regional with a 46-18 record on the season and a Conference USA Championship title under their belts.

Breanne Javier leads the UCF offense with a .393 batting average, 81 hits, 12 doubles, 39 RBI, 100 total bases and a .445 on-base percentage. Tiffany Lane paces the Knights with 56 runs, five triples and 27 stolen bases, all marks that lead the league.

In the circle, Allison Kime has been nothing less than dominate for the Knights, posting a 31-10 record, 343 strikeouts, 13 shutouts and a 1.04 ERA. The senior has held opponents to a .177 batting average, while pitching a league-high 277.0 innings.

Previewing USF
The Bulls received an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after posting a 44-18 record on the season and a 16-4 Big East clip, good for the regular-season title. During its league tournament, USF fell to No. 20 DePaul in the championship game.

Kit Dunbar paces the Bulls at the plate with a .394 batting average, 71 hits and 12 sacrifice hits. Courtney Mosch, who holds a 17-8 record, has seen the most time in the circle for USF, registering a 1.49 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 169.1 innings.

Previewing Florida
The Gators welcome UCF to Gainesville as the No. 1 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, accumulating a 62-2 record on the season and a 27-1 SEC mark. Its SEC Tournament title is the first for Florida as well as its No. 1 seeding. The Gators currently hold a 35-game winning streak and are ranked No. 1 this week in the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Poll.

Pitcher Stacey Nelson has been Florida's secret ingredient to success this season, holding a nation-leading 40-2 record. The junior has a 0.79 ERA, 14 shutouts and 298 strikeouts in 275.0 innings pitched. Offensively, Ali Gardiner leads Florida with a .418 batting average, 77 hits, 17 doubles and 54 RBI, just to name a few.

Previewing Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets received an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament after recording a 31-29 record on the season and a 9-11 ACC record. In the ACC Tournament, Georgia Tech did not have the opportunity to claw through the ranks of the loser's bracket, as rain cancelled that portion of the tournament. The Yellow Jackets were sent home with a 1-1 record.

Pacing the Georgia Tech offense this season is Aileen Morales, who is batting .344 with 45 runs scored, 62 hits, nine doubles, five triples and 44 stolen bases. Whitney Humphreys has been taking the pitching load on her shoulders, posting a 19-15 record and a 1.89 ERA on the season.

C-USA Championship Record Books
The Knights made their mark on the C-USA Championship record books on their way to the league-tournament crown, posting a new tournament record for batting average in a series, recording a .342 team clip in the three-game event.

Allison Kime's 24 strikeouts over the weekend were the second-most all-time in a C-USA tournament series, with the record sitting at 25. It also set a program record for Ks in the C-USA Championship, one-upping her 23 strikeouts last season. Also tying for second place in the all-time record books were Tiffany Lane in both hits (7) and total bases (11), and Abby McClain with a pair of doubles.

No. 2 for Three
The Knights' NCAA Regional appearance this weekend will be the second for three members of the UCF squad. When the team traveled to Gainesville in 2005, Cat Snapp, Ashley Van Ryn and Shelly Frick made the trip. Snapp posted a .500 batting average through three games at the event, scoring a run in the victory over Florida and starting every game as the catcher.

Come Out Firing
Going into this weekend's NCAA Tournament the Knights hold a 19-1 record when scoring a run in the first inning and 37-6 when beating their opponent to the scoreboard. If UCF can hold its lead through the sixth inning, they are nealy untouchable, posting a 38-2 mark when holding the lead in the frame.

Eager to Bounce Back
The Knights have not lost more than three games in a row this season, being able to bounce back from defeat with ease. The Black and Gold held a 13-game winning streak from March 15-April 2 before it was snapped by No. 9 Houston. But the Knights fought back, winning the second game vs. the Cougars, 6-4.

The Knights take on in-state rival USF in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Gainesville, Fla. Their trip to the Gainesville Regional is their second since 2005. 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