UCF Softball Concludes Home Slate vs. Southern Miss

April 29, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team wraps up its 2011 home slate this weekend as it is set to host Southern Miss in a three-game Conference USA series at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights and the Golden Eagles will face-off in a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday, before concluding the series with Senior Day at 12 p.m. Sunday.

Following the series finale Sunday afternoon, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie and the Knights will honor the squad's five seniors, Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa), Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.), Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) and Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.), in a short ceremony to recognize their dedication and contributions to the UCF softball program.

The seniors enter the final home series of their careers with an 18-28 record on the season and are sixth in league standings with an 8-10 C-USA clip after falling in three games to Memphis on the road last weekend. In that series, sophomore Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) hit .600 (3-for-5) and accounted for three of the Knights' 11 total hits, while also drawing three walks to post a .750 on-base percentage on the weekend.

Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.), Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) each added two hits against the Tigers in the series, with Todd and Land posting a double apiece.

Land paces the Knights offensively this season, boasting team-highs in batting average (.361), hits (48), runs (29), doubles (7), triples (5), total bases (74), slugging percentage (.556), on-base percentage (.452), sacrifice hits (9) and stolen bases (22). She ranks eighth nationally in triples, 24th in triples per game (0.11) and 52nd in stolen bases per game (0.48), while also ranking in C-USA's top-10 in 12 different categories heading into Saturday's doubleheader.

Rojas leads the UCF pitching staff with a 3.18 ERA and two shutouts in 125.1 innings pitched in 2011, while junior Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) follows closely behind with a 3.51 ERA. Dinney paces the staff with a 10-8 record, 83 strikeouts and a .233 opponent batting average.

Southern Miss enters the C-USA match-up with a 17-30 overall record after dropping a 2-0 decision to No. 21 LSU Wednesday night in non-conference action, and is seventh in league standings with a 4-14 mark. In C-USA play, the Golden Eagles went 1-2 in their series at Marshall last weekend, while picking up their addition three victories in a series sweep vs. UTEP the weekend before. Southern Miss has won six of its last nine contests entering the series at UCF.

The Golden Eagles are led offensively by Leslie LeJune, who carries team-highs in hits (39), doubles (11), runs scored (25), walks (21) and stolen bases (8). In the circle, Beth Dietrich holds a 10-14 record with a 3.01 ERA, four shutouts and 77 strikeouts in 141.2 innings pitched.

The Knights are 10-6 all-time when battling the Golden Eagles and have been victorious in their last five meetings against the squad. Last season, the Black and Gold swept Southern Miss on the road in its three-game league series, outscoring the home team, 18-6. UCF is 4-2 when taking on the Golden Eagles at the UCF Softball Complex, while also holding a 5-4 record in Hattiesburg and a 1-0 clip on neutral ground.

Following its final home series, the Knights will conclude their regular-season schedule with a three-game C-USA series at Houston May 7-8, before heading to Greenville, N.C., for the C-USA Softball Championship hosted by East Carolina May 12-14.