The American Awaits

Live Stats UCFKnights.TV Game Notes

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – A new season for the Knights begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the American Athletic Conference opener against Houston. The Marching Knights will be on hand, providing additional energy for the first game of the series at the UCF Softball Complex.
First pitch on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. and a 50/50 raffle will be held during the contest with Nike items serving as prizes. Fans can come out on Sunday at noon for Bingo and the final round of player trading cards, along with a postgame autograph session.
UCF enters its conference season with a 15-13 mark, but has gone up against some tough competition with 11 of its defeats coming to programs that have been ranked in the Top 25.
"We know that we can compete against everybody and that's the mentality that our team has to take going into conference," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "Our players have to know that they are battle readied and seasoned for what we are going to face in the conference. It is not going to be easy. It is going to be a very challenging battle in our conference, and we are excited to be taking it on."
The Knights also have experience in turning the page at the start of conference play. UCF has won its past 19 conference series, dating back to the 2013 season. That stretch includes series wins in all 17 of its three-game sets since joining The American prior to the 2014 campaign.
The last three years have been memorable for the Knights, who have captured two American Athletic Conference regular season titles and made three appearances in NCAA Regional Finals. The current squad might feature nine freshmen, but seniors Brittany Solis, Linnea Goodman and Willow Kalinen are providing the leadership and experience for the young squad that has grown each game this season.
The Knights welcomed over 947 fans, the third-highest crowd in program history, in a hard-fought 4-0 loss to No. 1 Florida State. It was the first time that the top team in the nation faced the Knights at home.
Sophomore Cassady Brewer continued her torrid pace at the plate and went 2-for-3 against the Seminoles. The Apopka, Fla., native is on an 11-game hitting streak, which includes five multi-hit and four multi-RBI games.
Brewer paces the Knights with a .385 batting average and .551 slugging percentage. A total of 16 RBI and two homers each have been tallied by junior Courtney Rotton and Brewer.
UCF is ranked 33rd nationally in stolen bases with 1.81 per game. Junior Megan Greenwell has swiped a team-best 14 bags this season.
The Knights pitching staff is led by freshman Alea White (8-8), who has appeared in 98.2 innings and tallied 51 strikeouts. Junior Manami Calixto (2-2) and freshmen Kamryn Toney (4-2) and Damara Begin (1-1) have each played important roles this season.
The Cougars enter league play with a 14-12 overall mark and have notched notable wins over UC Santa Barbara, Boston College, Purdue and Texas A&M.
Houston is batting .300 as a team and is led by Maya Thomas and Arielle James with .491 and. 392 batting averages, respectively. A team-best eight home runs and 23 RBI have been driven in by Shelby Miller.
The duo of Savannah Heebner (6-4) and Trystan Melancon (6-5) are the top pitchers. Heebner has notched 21 strikeouts in 64.1 innings, while Melancon has tallied 50 strikeouts in 59.2 frames of work.
This is only the third road game for the Cougars, who are 1-1 with a 1-0 victory at No. 5 Texas A&M.
Series History
UCF holds an 18-16 all-time mark against Houston. Since both teams joined The American, UCF has collected victories in eight of the nine matchups. The Knights hold a 13-5 mark in contests played in Orlando, including victories in each of the last 13 games dating back to 2008. Houston has had the upper hand on games played on its home field, registering a 10-5 record.
Next Up
The Knights conclude their 19-game homestand on Wednesday at 5 p.m. vs. North Florida. The contest will serve as the team's Strikeout Cancer day with a number of promotions on tap to bring awareness to cancer research.

Season tickets for the 2017 campaign start at $50 for adults and $25 for youth (ages 2-17). For more information about season and individual game tickets, click here.
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