UCF Softball Entertains Five Teams for UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II

UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II Central

Feb. 24, 2011

="" alt="Knight Head" border="0" class="imported"> Read John Denton's Knights Insider | ="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported">Follow us on Twitter | ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported">Get social with the Knights on Facebook

By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team will welcome UMKC, No. 9 Michigan, Maine, Villanova and North Florida to Orlando this weekend as it hosts its second of three home tournaments, the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II, Feb. 25-27, at the UCF Softball Complex.

The Knights will face the Kangaroos and the Wolverines Friday night at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, before taking on the Black Bears at 1 p.m. and the Wildcats at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Black and Gold will close out the event with a rematch against the Ospreys at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie will be looking for career win No. 600 at the event, as the skipper enters the weekend only four victories shy of the milestone with a 596-444-3 NFCA record, which includes a 344-240-1 record at UCF.

The Black and Gold currently holds a 3-7 record on the season after falling to Florida A&M, 5-4, Wednesday night on the road. Junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) was the only Knight to post more than one hit in the contest, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Land is one of five Knights hitting over .300 this season, as she ranks third on the squad with a .333 batting average through 10 games. Fellow junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) leads UCF with a .400 average, while senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) is close behind with a .370 average. Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) and Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) are batting .313 and .308, respectively, to round out the .300 club.

As a team, UCF is outhitting its opponents in batting average (.268 - .263), hits (70 - 67), triples (5 - 0) and stolen bases (16 - 5) in 2011, but has struggled to get a timely hit, stranding 78 runners on base in 10 total games played.

In the circle, freshman Haley Douglas (Pleasanton, Calif.) boasts a team-low 2.74 ERA in six appearances this year, while also leading the Black and Gold with 12 strikeouts and 23.0 innings pitched.

UMKC makes the trip to the Sunshine State with a 6-3 overall record after posting a 2-2 clip at the Austin Peay Spring Classic last weekend. In the event, Emily Ott led the Kangaroos with a .769 average to be named the Summit League Player of the Week. The Knights and UMKC will meet for the first time in program history Friday.

No. 9 Michigan enters the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II with a flawless 10-0 record on the season after posting tournament victories at both the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational and the FAU Kickoff Classic. Senior hurler Jordan Taylor paces the Wolverines in the circle, boasting a 5-0 record with a 0.58 ERA and back-to-back Big Ten Pitcher of the Week accolades in two weeks of play. Michigan leads the Black and Gold in the all-time series, holding a 4-0 advantage over the Knights.

Maine takes part in UCF's home tournament with a 2-3 records through its first week of play. The Black Bears took part in the Ragin' Cajun Invitational last weekend, with senior Terren Hall leading the squad at the plate with a .313 batting average, five hits, four runs scored, two home runs and four RBI. The Knights are 4-2 all-time vs. Maine.

The Wildcats opened their season at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament in nearby Ft. Myers last weekend, picking up two wins over South Carolina and also earning the victory vs. the host Eagles to post a 3-2 record. Pitcher Molly Manning held her opponents to a .193 batting average, while posting a 0.91 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched for Villanova at the event to lead the squad. UCF is 3-2 when squaring off with the Wildcats.

The Knights close out the tournament Sunday against a UNF team that boasts a 4-6 record on the season, which includes a, 2-0, victory over the Black and Gold at the UCF Softball Complex on Feb. 16. Freshman hurler Cortney Radke paces the Ospreys in the circle with a 3-5 record to go along with a 2.82 ERA and 56 strikeouts. In the teams' last meeting, Radke tied the UNF record with 16 strikeouts vs. the Knights. Despite the loss earlier in the year, UCF still holds a 6-3 advantage over the Ospreys in the all-time series.

Fans can follow all of the action at the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II by going to the Tournament Central page on UCFAthletics.com. On the site, fans will find the tournament schedule, links to live stats, live audio and live video and boxscores from each contest.

The Knights have 28 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, with season tickets for the season costing only $40. If you buy today, you will pay only $1.42 per game for the remainder of the year. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.