April 1, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team is set to host its annual Pack the Park event Wednesday, April 6 at 6 p.m. vs. in-state rival Florida State at the UCF Softball Complex, with Miss Florida USA 2010, Megan Clementi, scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The first 150 fans through the gate will receive a free complete pack of UCF softball player cards, while all spectators will also have the opportunity to take part in numerous additional promotions throughout the game, including UCF softball trivia and the UCF softball t-shirt toss.
Bright House Sports Network will air the contest live regionally on Bright House channel 47 for digital cable subscribers. Two-time Olympic Gold medalist Dot Richardson will serve as the color analyst for the showdown, while David Baumann will be on the call for play-by-play. Fans can also follow all the softball action live on Knights All-Access and on Gametracker at UCFAthletics.com.
The Knights are looking to Pack the Park and break their single-game home attendance record set last season when 1,091 UCF faithful watched as the Black and Gold went head-to-head with then-No. 6 Florida on March 31.
The match-up between the Knights and the Seminoles at the UCF Softball Complex has also proved to be popular in the past, as the previous UCF attendance record was set on April 9, 2008, when 687 fans came out to the ballpark to watch the in-state rivalry between UCF and FSU.
Since their rivalry began in 2002, UCF and Florida State have battled each other on the diamond 14 times, with the Seminoles holding a 10-4 advantage over the Knights. The squads last faced off in 2010, with UCF falling to FSU, 6-1, at the UCF Softball Complex. When playing in Orlando, the Black and Gold is 2-5 against the Seminoles.
The Knights enter the contest with a 12-22 record on the season and a 3-6 Conference USA mark after handing UAB its first league-loss of the year last weekend. In the win, senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) tossed her first-career complete-game shutout in the circle, while also striking out three batters.
Earlier in the week, Rojas pitched 2.2 innings of relief in UCF's come-from-behind victory vs. Kent State to pick up her second save of the season. The hurler now ranks 26th nationally and third in C-USA in saves, and also leads the league in relief appearances.
Offensively, the Knights have three players batting over .300 heading into the contest with Florida State, with junior Natalie Land pacing the squad with a .347 average. She is followed closely by fellow junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) with a .343 average, while senior Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) holds a .324 mark.
Along with senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa), who holds a .295 average, UCF's top-four batters have accounted for 75 runs, 124 hits, 46 RBI, 11 doubles, nine triples, and 10 home runs of the Knights' total offense. Among the four, Land is currently tied for the national lead with five triples, while also ranking 12th in NCAA Division I with a 0.15 triples-per-game average.
Before making its trip to Orlando, Florida State is set to host Virginia Tech this weekend in a three-game ACC series. The Seminoles enter the series with a 16-17 overall record and a 2-4 ACC record, with Jen Lapicki leading FSU with a .374 batting average. In the circle, Sarah Hamilton has seen the most time for the visitors, carrying a 9-11 record and a 2.15 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 120.2 innings pitched.