UCF Softball Faces Stetson to Open NCAA Gainesville Regional on Friday



May 14, 2014

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By Nate Blythe


Friday, May 16
Game 1 - No. 2 UCF vs. No. 3 Stetson - 3:30 p.m.
Game 2 - No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 Florida A&M - 6 p.m.

Saturday, May 17
Game 3 - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner - 1 p.m.
Game 4 - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser - 3:30 p.m.
Game 5 - Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Winner - 6 p.m.

Sunday, May 18
Game 6 - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner - 1 p.m.
Game 7 - If Game 5 Winner wins Game 6 - 3:30 p.m.

Related Content
+ NCAA Gainesville Regional Central
+ Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
+ Youth is Served
+ Audio/Video/Gametracker

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF Softball team begins the NCAA Gainesville Regional on Friday at 3:30 p.m. as the No. 2 seed against No. 3 Stetson. No. 1 Florida hosts No. 4 Florida A&M at 6 p.m. at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

UCF (41-16) earned its third at-large berth (2010, 2012, 2014) into the NCAA Tournament after winning The American Regular Season Championship with a 15-3 mark and taking a series against each league foe. UCF won the 2005 Atlantic Sun and 2008 C-USA Tournament to receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Louisville topped UCF, 3-2, in the championship game of The American Tournament on May 11 to earn the league's automatic bid. The Knights reached the final after defeating No. 8 UConn, 6-0, and No. 5 Rutgers, 8-5.

Four teams from The American - South Florida (Tallahassee Regional), Houston (Waco Regional) and Louisville (Tucson Regional) - made the NCAA Tournament field. Half of the eight-team conference gained entrance into the tournament during the league's inaugural season.

Despite having the youngest team in the NCAA Tournament, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie and The American Coaching Staff of the Year have done a tremendous job in creating a cohesive unit that has improved throughout the campaign. Leading the way have been juniors third baseman Farrah Sullivan, pitcher Mackenzie Audas, second baseman Kahley Novak and outfielder Maddy Schroeder, who have regional experience after facing Florida and USF following their freshman campaign in 2012.

Among the other youthful squads in the tournament are Dartmouth and Nebraska, who each have an upper class that contains two juniors and two seniors.

In the Gainesville Regional, automatic bids were notched by Stetson (38-12), who won the Atlantic Sun Tournament title, and Florida A&M (24-27), who took the MEAC Tournament Championship. The Gators (45-11) received an at-large berth into the tournament and a No. 5 national seed.

The Knights have faced each opponent during the regular season and hold a 2-2 mark against the trio including 1-0 victories over the Hatters and Rattlers.

UCF topped Stetson on April 9 behind an 11-strikeout shutout by Audas, while Sullivan, The American Player of the Year, scored the only run on a solo homer to leadoff the sixth inning. Sophomore pitcher Shelby Turnier posted one of her best games against Florida A&M, 1-0, on Feb. 15 with 15 strikeouts and crossed the plate in the seventh following a triple to leadoff the frame.

On March 29, Florida tallied a 10-6 win at the UCF Softball Complex, where a grand slam by Taylore Fuller proved to be the difference. Sophomore outfielder Mariah Garcia went 2-for-2 in the contest with a pair of doubles and four RBI.

The Hatters came to Orlando on April 22 and evened the series behind a four-hit shutout by Meredith Owen, who was charged with the loss in DeLand. Courtney Brandt and Brittany Hawn had RBI base hits that in the sixth that enabled Stetson to break the scoreless tie and post a 3-0 victory.

All-session passes are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, students and seniors (55+). Single-day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, students and seniors (55+). Tickets can be purchased on-line by clicking here.

Links to free video, subscription audio and gametracker can be found on the softball schedule page. Eric Lopez, the voice of UCF softball, handles the play-by-play commentary on the audio broadcast.

The winner of the two Friday evening contests will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, while a 3:30 p.m. start is set for the two remaining teams in an elimination game.



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