UCF Softball Welcomes Ball State, North Carolina to UCF Softball Complex

March 7, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Coming off two-straight wins at the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational III last weekend, the UCF (7-14) softball team continues its 17-game homestand Tuesday when it welcomes Ball State (9-5) and North Carolina (13-8) to the UCF Softball Complex for a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch for the opening contest vs. the Cardinals is slated for 4:30 p.m., with the nightcap vs. the Tar Heels set for 7 p.m.

Both games of Tuesday's doubleheader will be streamed live on UCFAthletics.com via Knights All-Access Player, while fans can also listen to the game live on Stretch Internet or follow live stats on Gametracker free of charge.

Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie tallied career-win No. 600 with the Knights' victory over Florida A&M in the squad's final game of its home tournament. The skipper enters Tuesday's doubleheader with a 600-451-3 career record in her 18th season as a head coach and a 348-247-1 in her 10th season with the Knights.

The Black and Gold improved its record to 7-14 on the season with Gillispie's 600th win and a 3-3 showing through six games last week, and also put together back-to-back wins for the first time in 2011 thanks in large part to the arm of pitcher Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.).

The hurler picked up both wins Saturday vs. Monmouth and the Rattlers. She earned her first win after not giving up an earned run, allowing only three hits and striking out eight in 5.2 innings of relief in UCF's thrilling come-from-behind victory vs. the Hawks, before picking up her second-straight win vs. Florida A&M in the nightcap. Dinney allowed only one earned run on three hits and struck out six in the contest to improve to 4-3 on the year.

Fellow junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third inning Saturday night in the win over Florida A&M. The streak matches the seventh-best mark in program history and is the longest streak since former Knight Breanne Javier set the UCF record with a hit in 15-straight games during the 2008 season.

Ball State enters the contest vs. UCF with a 9-5 record on the season after picking up three wins vs. Arkansas, Villanova and East Tennessee State last weekend at the Under Armour Invitational hosted by South Florida. Alicia Barkley paces the Cardinals' offense with a .457 batting average, 21 hits and 14 runs scored, while Audra Sanders is Ball State's ace in the circle. The hurler is 4-3 on the year with 50 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched. The all-time series between the Knights and the Cardinals is even at 1-1 heading into Tuesday's matchup.

Prior to its game vs. the Knights, Ball State will take on Monmouth at the UCF Softball Complex at 2 p.m.

North Carolina takes on the Black and Gold in the nightcap with a 13-8 overall record, having won four of its last seven games, including victories over Temple and Long Island last weekend at the 2011 Citrus Classic in Lake Buena Vista. Of the Tar Heels' last three losses, each have been decided by just one run and two have come in the extra innings. Freshman Lori Spingola anchors UNC's pitching staff with a 10-6 record on the season. The hurler boasts a 1.64 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 89.2 innings of work. Offensively, Kelli Wheeler paces the Tar Heels with a .406 batting average and five home runs, which included a three-run walk-off home run in the squad's win over Long Island. UNC holds a 1-0 advantage over UCF in the all-time series.

The Knights have 19 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.