ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The hunt for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament starts this weekend for the UCF softball team, as head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie's squad opens the 2013 season at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Knights begin play with a doubleheader on Friday beginning with a noon contest vs. Texas Tech, followed by a 4:30 p.m. contest with DePaul. The tournament will come to a close for the Black and Gold on Saturday as they tackle a second doubleheader against No. 18 Louisville at 4:30 p.m. followed by a showdown with host UNLV at 9 p.m. All game times are Eastern.
Fans can follow all of UCF's contests via Gametracker, and can find all additional information regarding the Sportco Kick-Off Classic by going to the Tournament Central page on UNLV’s official website.
Gillispie is in her 12th season as UCF's head coach and holds a 402-284-1 record with the Knights with a 654-488-3 career mark. She went 121-133-1 record in four seasons as Texas Tech’s coach, UCF’s season-opening opponent.
In its opening contest, the Knights will face a Texas Tech team that returns the heart of its 2012 lineup in seniors Sandy James, Mikey Kenney and Adriana Perez. The trio led Texas Tech in batting average, home runs and RBI a year ago to help send the Red Raiders to their third-straight NCAA Regional appearance. The second game on Friday will pit the Black and Gold against DePaul. The Blue Demons, a cold weather team from Chicago, have practiced indoors for the last month and will kick off the season with a stretch of 28 consecutive road games spanning five tournaments.
The Saturday slate features contests against nationally-ranked Louisville and UNLV. The Cardinals are coming off of a program-best 55-5 campaign in which they captured the 2012 BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles and made their ninth straight NCAA regional appearance. Louisville returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners including All-American Taner Fowler. This year's UNLV squad will be led by first-year head coach Lisa Dodd, a former NFCA All-American at UCLA and most recently an assistant coach at Oregon. The Rebels return seven starters and 13 letterwinners from the 2012 team, including former Mountain West All-Conference Team members Tayler Aleman, Stefany Valentino and Tayler Van Acker.
The Black and Gold will play 28 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with the 2013 home-opener slated for Feb. 13 against North Florida. Season tickets for the 2013 season cost only $30 and are general admission. Single-game tickets are also available for $5 for adults, $3 for UCF faculty/staff, youth and seniors. To purchase single game or season tickets, call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000.