May 11, 2010
C-USA Championship Central
By Sarah Tarasewicz
HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - Two days before opening play at the Conference USA Championship in Houston, the UCF softball team learned Tuesday that a program-record six student-athletes earned All-C-USA softball honors, which included another UCF-record three selections to the All-C-USA First Team, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Black and Gold, which finished the regular season with a 33-20 overall record and an 16-7 league mark, tied UAB for the most All-C-USA First and Second Team selections this season.
Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) and Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) all garnered first team accolades, while Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) and Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) were selected to the second team. Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) rounded out the Knights' record number of selections by being named to the all-freshman team.
Lane earned a spot on the All-C-USA first team for the second-consecutive year after setting the league record with 21 career triples, while ranking sixth nationally in 2010 with six triples and seventh with a .12 triples per game average. Lane leads the Knights this season in triples, total bases (68) and slugging percentage (.479), while ranking second in batting average (.310), runs scored (25), hits (44), doubles (9), RBI (18) and stolen bases (12).
After being named to the All-Freshman Team in 2009, Land put together an impressive sophomore campaign this season to earn her first selection to the first team. The second baseman paces the Knights in batting average (.317), runs scored (29), hits (46), sacrifice hits (15) and stolen bases (17), and sits among the top-10 in C-USA in five different categories. Land was also recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III Second Team for her work both on the field and in the classroom.
Cole garnered first-team distinction after putting together the best season of her career in the circle for the Black and Gold. The senior boats a 21-12 record, making her only the fourth pitcher in program history to tally 20 or more wins in a season, with a 1.53 ERA, five shutouts and 149 strikeouts in 224.2 innings pitched. Cole ranks in the league's top-10 in eight different pitching categories. Most impressive about Cole's senior season is the fact that she earned three wins over ranked opponents, including No. 16 Tennessee, No. 9 Alabama and No. 22 Ohio State. In six starts against teams ranked in the top-25, Cole totaled a 1.75 ERA, one shutout, 26 strikeouts and a .198 opponent batting average this season.
McClain was also a repeat selection to the All-C-USA Second Team after being voted to the squad last season. The junior started all 53 games behind the plate for UCF this season, catching 14 runners stealing and picking off one on the basepaths. Offensively, McClain leads UCF in on-base percentage (.399), walks (22) and times hit by pitch (6), while ranking third in batting average (.291), runs (25), hits (43), doubles (7) and home runs (2). Like Land, McClain was also recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) with a spot on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team. With her selection to the first team, McClain is now eligible for the organization's Academic All-America® consideration.
One of the Knights' five seniors, Barrow was voted onto the second team after averaging a team-best 0.69 RBI per game as UCF's No. 3 batter. The third baseman posted a team-high 36 RBI during her senior campaign, while also leading the squad in runs scored (29), doubles (10), home runs (5) and assists (122). Barrow hit her first career grand slam against Cornell at the UCF Softball Complex, while pacing UCF with eight multiple-RBI games.
One of 11 rookies to be named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team, Menendez earned respect around the league after batting .252 on the season with 38 hits, four doubles, three triples and one home run. Menendez was the only freshman on the Knights' roster to start all 53 regular-season contests, including 24 at first base, 15 as the designated player and 14 at second base. The rookie posted three-game winning RBI, including game-winners against both No. 16 Tennessee and No. 9 Alabama.
The No. 3-seeded Knights are set to take on No. 6-seed UTEP Thursday in the opening round of the C-USA Championship hosted by Houston at the Cougar Softball Stadium. First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.