UCF Softball Opens C-USA Play vs. UTEP This Weekend

March 11, 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 (7-16) softball team opens Conference USA action this weekend as it is set to welcome UTEP (11-9) to the UCF Softball Complex for a three-game series. The Knights and the Miners will square off in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., before closing out the series Sunday at 12 p.m.

Sunday also marks Little League Softball Day at the ballpark, with Little League players ages 12 and under from around the central Florida area admitted free of charge with their Little League uniform. Parents, coaches, chaperones and players ages 13 and older may purchase tickets in advance for $3. To receive the group rate, fans should call the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000 prior to Sunday's contest.

The first 200 youth ages 12 and under through the gate wearing their Little League uniform will receive a pack of UCF Silly Bandz, while all fans will have the opportunity to participate in softball bingo, trivia and the UCF t-shirt toss during the game. Following the contest, participants will be invited to interact with members of the UCF softball team and will have the opportunity to get autographs from their favorite players.

UCF enters the league-opening series vs. UTEP with a 7-16 record on the season, with three Knights boasting batting averages over .300. Juniors Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) pace the Black and Gold with .375 and .347 batting averages, respectively, while senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) rounds out the .300 club with a .302 average on the year.

Jest enters the weekend on a 13-game hitting streak and could potentially break the UCF record of 15-straight games with a hit pending a base knock in all three of UCF's contests vs. the Miners this weekend. The junior has hit safely in 19 of her 20 games played this season, with her 13-game hitting streak being the third-highest in program history. Former Knight Breanne Javier holds the record after hitting safely in 15-straight contests in 2008.

The Knights hold a 2-12 record in thier C-USA opening series since joining the league in 2006, but hold a 13-4 advantage over UTEP all-time after sweeping the league series vs. the Miners last season on the road and also defeating the squad in the opening round of the C-USA Championship. This weekend will mark the first time in program history that the Black and Gold will take on UTEP in its league opener.

UTEP enters the series with an 11-9 record on the year after dropping a 1-0 contest to New Mexico State on the road Wednesday. Previous to their mid-week loss, the Miners posted wins over UT Arlington, Louisiana Tech, Bradley, North Dakota, Texas State, Houston Baptist and Northern Colorado. They are led at the plate by Chelsea Troupe, who is batting .441 with 26 hits, eight home runs, five doubles, 23 runs scored and 20 RBI.

The Knights have 15 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, including a contest vs. in-state rival Florida State on April 6, 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.