UCF Softball to Face Valparaiso and No. 9 Michigan in Mid-Week Doubleheader

Feb. 28, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team will face both Valparaiso and No. 9 Michigan in a mid-week doubleheader Tuesday at the UCF Softball Complex, with the Knights scheduled to take on the Crusaders at 4:30 p.m. and the Wolverines at 7 p.m.

The first 100 fans through the gate for the doubleheader will receive a free UKnight t-shirt, while the ceremonial first pitch for the nightcap will be thrown out by Dolly Konwinski, who was an original member of the All American Girls Baseball League from 1947-52. Konwinski is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame and the Old Timers Baseball Hall of Fame.

The last time the Black and Gold and Valparaiso met on the diamond was in 2003 at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee, where UCF blanked the Crusaders, 5-0, behind a one-hit, nine-strikeout shutout performance in the circle from Dottie Cupp.

The Knights and No. 9 Michigan's last meeting was more recent and came just three days ago at the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II at the UCF Softball Complex, with the Wolverines defeating the Black and Gold, 10-1, in six innings. The victory by Michigan improved its record vs. the Knights to 5-0 all-time.

UCF posted a 1-4 record during the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II last weekend, defeating Maine Saturday afternoon, 6-3, after both Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) and Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) hit home runs in the contest. The last time two Knights hit home runs in the same game was almost exactly a year earlier when McClain and Arielle Palafox went yard in a win over Nebraska at the NFCA Leadoff Classic on Feb. 27, 2010.

Following the win over the Black Bears on Saturday, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie moved her career record to 594-448-3 and is now only six wins shy of registering career-win No. 600.

The Knights also faced Florida A&M, UMKC, the Wolverines, Villanova and North Florida in six total games last week, with junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) pacing the squad with six hits and a .429 on-base percentage. Land hit .333 throughout the six contests, recording a double, a triple and her first home run of the season. The shortstop also had a RBI, five runs scored, three walks, a sacrifice hit, two stolen bases and a .667 slugging percentage.

Valparaiso enters Tuesday's contest vs. UCF with a 5-4 overall record after taking home the Stetson Hatter Classic tournament title last weekend with wins over Stetson, Charleston Southern and Bethune-Cookman. Jessie Marinec paces the Crusaders with a .400 batting average with 10 hits.

No. 9 Michigan faces off with the Knights once again Tuesday with a flawless 15-0 record on the season after taking home the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II title last weekend by posting a 5-0 record. The Wolverines defeated Maine, Villanova, UMKC, North Florida and UCF during the course of the tournament. Dorian Shaw leads the squad with a .462 batting average, which includes 18 hits, 16 runs scored, two doubles, seven home runs and 19 RBI.

Valparaiso and Michigan will also play a neutral-site contest at the UCF Softball Complex Tuesday at 2 p.m.

The Knights have 23 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, with season tickets for the season costing only $40. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.