UCF Softball Welcomes Louisville for Key Series


GO KNIGHTS
GO KNIGHTS

GO KNIGHTS

April 17, 2014

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By Nate Blythe
UCFKnights.com

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After a successful 4-1 road trip, the UCF softball team returns to the UCF Softball Complex to face Louisville in a Friday doubleheader. The start time has been bumped up to noon due to the threat of inclement weather in the Orlando area.

The teams are going to attempt to play a doubleheader on Friday before battling in the finale on Saturday at 11 a.m. Be sure to follow @UCF_Softball on Twitter for the latest updates on changes to start times this weekend.

Prior to first pitch on Friday, the Knights will honor Kay Clark, their Friends of Jaclyn Foundation honorary teammate, with a balloon release. FOJ Foundation T-shirts will be thrown into the crowd throughout the doubleheader.

UCF holds its annual Easter Egg Hunt following the Saturday game. It is a part of Knights for Youth (K4Y).

This is an important series in The American as the second-place Knights (31-13, 7-2) host third-place Louisville (27-15, 8-4), who is riding a seven-game win streak. The winner of the three-game set will be in second in the league standings.

The Knights are coming off a 6-0 victory at Bethune Cookman on April 16 as sophomore Jessica Ujvari (2-0) combined with freshman Lena Springer for the 16th UCF shutout of the season. The shutout total is the third most on the program's single-season charts and is tied for third nationally with Michigan.

After posting two strikeouts in the seventh, Springer returned to campus to watch her brother, George Springer, make his MLB debut with the Houston Astros. He tallied a hit and scored a run in his second at bat. The New Britain, Conn., native was a first-round draft pick in the 2011 MLB Draft after finishing his career with the UConn baseball team.

UCF has the top pitching staff in The American with reigning pitcher of the week Mackenzie Audas (14-8) and sophomore Shelby Turnier (15-5). The Knights staff has compiled a 1.51 team ERA, while fanning 370 batters, tied with rival USF for first in the nation.

Louisville comes in looking to challenge the Knights offensively as it boasts a league-leading .303 batting avg. and six players over the .300 mark. Katie Keller paces The American in on-base pct. (.532), runs scored (38), hits (51) and doubles (14). The top run producer for the Cards is Kelsi Jones with 30 runs driven in and eight round trippers.

The pitching staff for Louisville is ranked third in the conference with a 2.80 ERA. The work horse is freshman Maryssa Becker (12-3), who had compiled a 1.73 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 109.1 innings of work. The depth in the circle includes Rachel Lecoq (8-8) and Caralisa Connell (7-4).

The Knights offense is led by junior outfielder Kahley Novak with a .367 avg. and her 51 hits ties for the lead in The American. The Clermont native also paces the league in stolen bases at 26.

Junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan has been dynamic at the plate by driving in 21 runs and hitting three homers of which two were game-winning blasts. UCF has also seen sophomore Mariah Garcia come through in the clutch, especially in the finale at USF on April 13 with the go-ahead two-run double in the seventh.

The Knights continue a seven-game home stand on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. contests against Stetson. First-place Houston comes to town on April 26-27 for a three-game set to round out the home slate.

 

 

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