UCF Softball Hosts Houston in Showdown for First Place



April 24, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

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2014 Guns & Hoses Event
April 26 | UCF Softball Complex

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Touch-A-Truck Event (10 a.m.)

  • Seminole County Alert Helicopter
  • Orange County Mounted Command (horseback)
  • Orange County Wrap Patrol Vehicle
  • UCF K-9 Unit
  • Seminole County Fire & Rescue

Between Games

  • On field K-9 demonstration

After Doubleheader

  • Exhibition between police and fire force

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - A showdown in The American is set for Saturday at the UCF Softball Complex with the first-place Knights welcoming second-place Houston for a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The winner of the series that concludes on Sunday at noon will have the league lead entering the final weekend of the regular season.

On Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m., fans are welcome to come out for the Guns and Hoses event, where local police and fire vehicles will be on display as a part of Alumni Day. The UCF K-9 unit will have an on-field demonstration between games, while an exhibition between the two forces will follow the doubleheader.

UCF (33-15, 9-3), who was ranked 29th in the latest RPI, the highest ranking since finishing 27th following the 2008 campaign, moved into first place after its 5-1 win over Louisville on April 20. Houston (29-16, 11-4) fell to second place after being swept by USF last weekend.

The teams are separated by one game in the loss column, which is important, because the Knights have played three fewer league contests due to the Temple series being cancelled. Regardless, the victor will be in first place entering the final week with the Knights traveling to UConn and the Cougars hosting Rutgers.

The series against Houston concludes a stretch where UCF has faced the top three teams in the league's preseason poll during consecutive weeks. UCF notched 2-1 series victories by taking the rubber match in each of its meetings at USF and against Louisville.

This is another matchup of one of the top pitching staffs in The American against one of the top offenses. UCF paces the league with a 1.53 ERA that ranks sixth in the nation, while the Cougars offense has produced 6.07 runs per game, coming in 24th nationally.

Junior Mackenzie Audas (15-10) and sophomore Shelby Turnier (16-5) combine for the top strikeout total in the nation at 394. The dynamic duo are 76 punchouts from setting the school record of 469 that was posted during the 2008 campaign.

Tallying a .360 avg. and a conference-leading 54 hits and 27 stolen bases is junior second baseman Kahley Novak. A total of 22 runs have been driven in by junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan, who is followed by sophomores designated player Jessica Ujvari (19) and outfielder Mariah Garcia (18).

Haley Outon leads the Cougars with a conference-high 12 home runs and 46 RBI. Racking up 51 hits and a .405 avg. is Katie St. Pierre, while Selena Hernandez has 13 doubles and 34 RBI.

In the circle, Diedre Outon (14-7) has a 3.53 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 124.2 innings, while Julana Shrum (10-5) has fanned 58 in 118.1 frames and has tallied a 3.02 ERA.

Houston has a 15-10 advantage in the all-time series, but the Knights are 7-4 in Orlando, which includes seven-straight victories going back to the 2008 campaign. The teams competed in the 2008 C-USA Championship Game in Houston, which the Knights won 4-2.

After wrapping up its 39 game home schedule, the Knights complete the regular season at UConn on May 4-5. The 39 home dates are tied for the national lead with USF and Arizona State.



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