Bring on the Bama Bash

Live Stats Easton Bama Bash Game Notes SEC Network+

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – For the second time in four seasons, UCF is heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Easton Bama Bash. The Knights are set to take on No. 10 Alabama, Texas Tech and Gardner-Webb at Rhoads Stadium.
A doubleheader against Gardner-Webb and host Alabama on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET begins the tournament for UCF.  The Knights face the Bulldogs for a second time at noon Saturday before taking on Texas Tech at 7 p.m. ET. The three-day event closes with UCF taking on Alabama at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday.
Both contests against the Crimson Tide will broadcast on SEC Network+. Fans can follow @UCF_Softball on Twitter for coverage of all the Knights' games.
In the meeting with Texas Tech, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie is facing a familiar university. She served as the head coach of the Red Raiders from 1996-99 before starting the UCF program in 2000. Gillispie posted a 119 victories over those four seasons and helped Texas Tech advance to the 1999 NCAA Regional Final.
The Knights (3-4) are coming off a tough 1-0 defeat vs. No. 8 UCLA, 1-0, on Feb. 17 at the Mary Nutter Classic. Senior Manami Calixto tossed a complete game five-hitter and notched three strikeouts in holding the Bruins to one unearned run.
A walk-off single by freshman Jazmine Esparza in the ninth inning lifted the Knights to a 2-1 victory over Cal Poly earlier that day in Palm Springs, Calif. Freshman Alea White registered her first career victory in the contest and fanned five batters in the complete game.
The Knights offense is paced by Linnea Goodman with five hits and three RBI, while junior Courtney Rotton has also tallied five base knocks, including a home run. Freshman third baseman Tamesha Glover has also driven in three runs.
The workhorse in the circle has been White (1-3). The Land O'Lakes, Fla., native has struck out 21 hitters over 29 innings of work. Freshman Kamryn Toney and Calixto have also notched victories.
Scouting the Field
No. 10  Alabama enters the weekend with an 8-2 mark after a 2-0 mid-week win over North Florida. The Crimson Tide have topped Towson (2), Coastal Carolina (2), Youngstown State, South Alabama, but dropped a road series at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Sidney Littlejohn (3-0) has tallied 30 strikeouts and yet to give up an earned run in 20.2 innings of work, while Aexis Osorio (4-1) has fanned 55 hitters in 29.0 frames. The Alabama offense is led by the clutch hitting of Payton Grantham and Bailey Hemphill, who have driven in 12 and 11 runs, respectively.
Gardner-Webb (3-10) has notched victories against Alabama A&M, East Tennessee State and Holy Cross before facing N.C. Central in a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon. The Bulldogs are led offensively by Alia Booth with 12 hits, while six runs have been driven in by Megan Champion. Mackenzie Thompson (1-5) has recorded 12 strikeouts in 30 innings of work.
Texas Tech is 6-4 on the season with victories over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Iowa, Abilene Christian, Cal State Fullerton, Florida Gulf Coast and Fresno State. In the circle, the Red Raiders have relied upon Kassidy Scott (3-2), who has notched 12 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. Four homers and nine RBI have been registered by Raina O'Neal, while a team-best .476 batting average has been compiled by Devon Thomey.
Series History
The all-time series between UCF and Alabama is tied, 2-2, after the Knights posted an 8-0 five-inning victory at home on Feb, 12, 2016. The Knights also topped the Tide, 3-2, in Columbus, Ga., on Feb. 28, 2010. 
The Knights hold a 7-1 all-time mark against Gardner-Webb with each meeting occurring when the two programs were members of the Atlantic Sun (2002-05). UCF has won the last five matchups in the series.
A doubleheader sweep was notched by the Knights over Texas Tech on Feb. 10, 2006, but the Red Raiders evened the series with victories on 2009 and 2013. All four meetings have occurred at neutral sites.
Next Up
After UCF travels to Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Ft. Myers, the Knights then begin a 19-game homestand. UCF welcomes Providence and FGCU for a round-robin tournament, which begins for the Black and Gold on Mar. 3 at 3 p.m.
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