UCF Softball Opens Conference USA Action This Weekend at Tulsa

March 6, 2009

Game Notes in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team opens Conference USA play this weekend when it travels to Tulsa for a three-game series. The Knights will face the Golden Hurricane in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. ET, before concluding the series with a single game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

? Schedule
Saturday, March 7
2:00 p.m. ET - at Tulsa (Game one)
4:00 p.m. ET - at Tulsa (Game two)
Sunday, March 8
1:00 p.m. ET - at Tulsa

? The Coaches
UCF: Renee Luers-Gillispie
Tulsa: John Bargfeldt

? Records
UCF: 14-9
Tulsa: 12-5

? Series
UCF leads Tulsa, 6-4

? Last Meeting
UCF 8, Tulsa 0 (2008)

? UCF's Last Time Out
vs. Loyola Chicago, L, 10-4

? Live Stats

? The Knights open their Conference USA schedule this weekend at Tulsa with a 14-9 overall record this season after falling to visiting Loyola Chicago, 10-4, Wednesday night at the UCF Softball Complex. UCF will open the three-game series with the Golden Hurricane Saturday with a 2 p.m. ET doubleheader, before concluding the series Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

? After posting a 3-0 record with one save last week, junior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) was named Conference USA's Pitcher of the Week, league officials announced Monday. The junior allowed only five earned runs in 26.1 innings pitched for a 1.33 ERA to help the UCF softball team to a 6-1 record.

? The Knights hold a 6-4 advantage over the Golden Hurricane in the teams' all-time series. UCF swept the series against Tulsa at the UCF Softball Complex last season behind three wins from Allison Kime in the circle.

? The Black and Gold will meet Tulsa for the second time in a C-USA opener. The two teams tangled in the league-opener in UCF's inaugural season in 2006. The Golden Hurricane defeated the Knights, 7-1, in that contest and went on to sweep the series in Orlando.

? Tulsa entertains the Knights with a 12-5 record on the season after posting a pair of wins at the Ole Miss Tournament last weekend over Mississippi Valley State and USC Upstate, before falling to Oklahoma on the road Wednesday. Lauren Lindsay paces the Golden Hurricane at the plate with a .431 batting average, 22 hits and 16 RBI, while Jackie Lawrence has picked up seven of Tulsa's wins in the circle this season.

After posting a 3-0 record with one save last week, junior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) was named Conference USA's Pitcher of the Week, league officials announced Monday. The junior allowed only five earned runs in 26.1 innings pitched for a 1.33 ERA to help the UCF softball team to a 6-1 record. Cole opened the week with a 6-2 win over Centenary, allowing only one earned run on seven hits, while striking out six batters in the complete-game outing. The next day, Cole earned her second victory of the week against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles could only muster three earned runs on seven hits off of Cole. The hurler also allowed only two walks to EMU, while striking out six batters for the second-straight contest. Cole came in relief against Syracuse, giving up only one earned run on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks in five innings of work, before earning her second career save in the win over Tennessee State. In the outing, Cole got the final out of the inning as she just faced one batter. Her third win of the week came in the Knights' UCF Invitational finale against Maine. Cole three-hit the Black Bears, while posting a season-high seven strikeouts to earn her first shutout of the season. The weekly honor is the first for Cole in 2009 and the first of her career.

Despite being tagged with a loss to Loyola Chicago on Wednesday, the Knights posted three triples for the second contest this season. The Black and Gold also recorded three triples against Tennessee State on Feb. 28 in the opening day of the UCF Invitational. With 11 triples on the season, UCF leads its C-USA competition, with its closest opponent trailing by four three-baggers. The Black and Gold also leads the league in doubles with 32.

For only the third time in program history, the Knights' defense turned three double plays in Saturday night's victory over Maine at the UCF Softball Complex. The last time UCF posted three double plays in a single contest was almost exactly two years prior, when they turned three against Eastern Michigan on March 1, 2007. The first time the feat was accomplished was on May 7, 2004 against USF.

Lindsay Dean matched the UCF program single-game record with two sacrifice flies in the blanking of Florida A&M Saturday. There have been only four other times in the last eight years that the feat has been accomplished. The last time a Knight had two sacrifice flies in a game was last season, when Hillary Barrow posted two against Stetson on April 27.

After posting only 15 home runs in 2008, UCF has already totaled 10 this season, which includes one round-tripper in each of the Knights' last three games and six in their last eight contests. Abby McClain, Tiffany Lane, Hillary Barrow and Natalie Land pace the Black and Gold with two home runs apiece, while Breanne Javier and Vanessa Perez added one during the 2009 campaign.

Tiffany Lane's triple in the third inning Wednesday night put her one closer to the UCF all-time record. The sophomore needs only one more three-bagger to tie Stephanie Best and Jania Shinhoster for the lead with 13 and two to set the record.

After pounding out five extra-base hits Wednesday against Loyola Chicago, UCF has posted five or more extra-base hits on three different occasions in 2009. The Black and Gold posted six doubles against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 20 and had four doubles and a triple at Jacksonville on Feb. 18. On the season, UCF has totaled 53 extra-base hits, a mark that ranks second in the league only to UTEP who boasts 57 extra-base knocks.

The Knights have yet to win a Conference USA opener since joining the league in 2006, falling in 2007 and 2008 to East Carolina and dropping its season-opener to Tulsa in their inaugural season in the league.

Since being moved into the leadoff spot in the Black and Gold's lineup against Villanova on Feb. 13, Abby McClain has helped UCF aquire an 11-5 record and a .290 team batting average. The sophomore is batting .396 with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, 11 RBI and a .717 slugging percentage as the Knights' leadoff batter.

With 14 wins on the season, the UCF softball team and Renee Luers-Gillispie need only eight more wins in 2009 for the duo to reach the 300-win mark at the Division I level. Gillispie and the Knights currently hold a 292-192-1 all-time record.

Fans can catch up with the Knights each week by watching `Extra Innings with Renee Luers-Gillispie' on Knights All-Access, exclusively at UCFAtheltics.com. The skipper reviews the week that was, previews the Knights' upcoming contests and answers fan questions on every episode of the broadcast. Curious Knight enthusiasts can also find out Gillispie's pick for the team's player of the week in each installment.

Season tickets are on sale now for the 2009 softball season, which features 34 home games at the UCF Softball Complex. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.