Many people have reach out to me and asked where does UCF win at South Florida on May 1st rank among the best UCF games ever? The Knights 5-3 win over USF on Sunday was watched by 124,000 viewers on ESPNU. But it got me to think where does this game rank? I have called over 350+ UCF Softball games. I decided to focus on just regular season games as there was alot of games to pick from. I will post rankings of Best- Post-Season UCF Softball games at another post. Enjoy my Top 25 Games in UCF Softball Regular season history based on many factors including importance and achivements of the game. So here we go.
25- March 3, 2015 : Maryland 6 at 15 UCF 8 : Solis Walk-Off.
The Knights found themselves down 5-1 in Bottom of the 6th. The Knights mounted a rally in a wild game that included a home run by slap hitter Madeline Schroder. Still the Knights were down 6-5 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th before Brittany Solis hit a 3 run walk off Home run to win it for the Knights.
24- April 5, 2009 : Southern Miss 4 at UCF 5 (8) Abby McClain Walk-Off 2B Wins Series.
The Knights fell behind early 3-0 but made a comeback to send the game to extra innings. Southern Miss would retake the lead 4-3 in the Top of the 8th. But with 2 outs and Bases Loaded Abby McClain hit walk off Double to drive in the game winning runs and give the Knights series win over Southern Miss in CUSA Series. Check out the highlights courtest of UCF SportsKnight TV Show April 7, 2009 episode with host Jeff Sharon at 6:34 mark of the episode.
23- March 9, 2008 : East Carolina 6 at UCF 10: Knights Comeback turns around Season.
The Knights were looking at getting swept by the Pirates. After losing the first 2 games of the series the day before including a 15 inning marathon loss. The Knights found themselves down 4-0 right away and seem like a sweep was coming. The Knights came back to life in the Bottom of the 5th scoring 2 runs to tie the game. After the Pirates responded by scoring 2 runs in the top of the 6th. UCF scored 6 runs in Bottom of the 6th to defeat East Carolina 10-6. The win would prove to be pivotal point of the season as the Knights took off as a team from that point on finishing 2nd in CUSA and winning CUSA Tournament on the way to a then school record 49 wins.
A wild Saturday Double Header as the Knights beat James Madison and Florida AM on walk off fashion in the same day. Against James Madison the Knights won it in the bottom of the 7th after Linnea Goodman used a sacrifice bunt to move Kahley Novak from 1st to 2nd. Novak alertly ran to third base with no one covering the bag and the throw from the second baseman landed in the dugout, awarding the game-winning run to Novak .
Against Florida AM, Shelby Turnier struck 15 batters and won the game with her bat in the bottom of the 7th with a walk off RBI triple.
In front of a then record crowd of 687 fans, UCF swept Florida State in a midweek doubleheader by the final scores of 2-0 and 4-1. The doubleader would mark the last time that UCF Softball Head Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie and the Knights would face Florida State legendary Head Coach Joanne Graf who would retire at the end of the end of the season.
T-20- February 13, 2010 : # 16 Tennessee 3 vs UCF 6 in Clermont :
UCF open the 2010 season in Clermont, Florida at the Dot Richardson Invitional. The Knights were scheduled open the season against UCLA and Oklahoma. But rain washed out those 2 games so the Knights open the season on Saturday February 13, 2010 against 16th rank Tennessee that featured future All-American and USA Softball players Raven Chavane and Lauren Gibson. The Knights were down 3-2 heading into the top of 7th before the Knights offense exploded scoring 4 runs to give the Knights a 6-3 win. Ashleigh Cole picked up the win which would be her 2nd career win of the time against top 25 teams. She ended up with 4 career wins against top 25 teams. Here below is highlights of the game UCF Sports Knight TV Show that aired on February 16, 2010 with host Jeff Sharon. Highlights at 2:24 mark.
T-20- February 28, 2010 : UCF 3 vs # 9 Alabama 2 in Columbus, Georgia
2 weeks later, Ashleigh Cole and the Knights pick up another top 25 win at the NFCA Lead-off classic as the Knights knock off No 9 Alabama 3-2. The Crimson Tide were led by All-Americans Kelsi Dunne, Kayla Braud who is currently SEC Network Softball anaylst and Charlotte Morgan who would go on to play in the NPF.
UCF played 1st American Conference game on March 22 hosting Memphis. It would turn out to forshadow the future for the Knights as Shelby Turnier threw her 1st career no Hitter with 11 Strikeouts as the Knights won 1-0 in first ever AAC Game. It was 2nd consecutive No-Hitter as Mackenzie Audas and Mackenzie Huhn combine for No-Hitter vs Iona in the previous game on March 18. Audas followed by the No-Hitter with a 6 hit shutout of Memphis as Shake and Bake combo of Turnier and Audas set the tone for what the conference would have to deal with for the next 2 seasons.
Jessica Ujvari hit a Grand Slam in the Bottom of the 6th inning in a scoreless tie to go on lead the Knights to a 5-1 win over Lousville to win the series and take first place in the American Conference. The Knights would go on to win the American a couple of weeks later at Connecticut.
Farrah Sullivan hit a 2 out Walk-Off Grand Slam in the bottom of the 11th to give the Knights a 4-2 win. Mackenzie Audas picked up the win going 11 innings with a career high 17 strikeouts which is 2nd most in school history behind Allison Kime’s 18 in 2007 in a 12 inning game. The 17 strikeouts tied a C-USA Conference record for strikeouts in a single game. It is also most strikeouts any UCF pitcher has ever had in a Conference game.
In the longest UCF Softball game ever played. Shelby Turnier tossed a program-record 16 innings, passing Allison Kime’s previous record of 15 innings in the circle in 2008 against East Carolina. In her 16th complete game of the season, she struck out 14 batters to collect her 17th win of the 2015 season as Farrah Sullivan RBI single in the top of 16th scoring Linnea Goodman would win the game for the Knights who would go to win this critical series at Tulsa.
It was a memorable Valentine’s Day for UCF as the Knights knock off 18th rank Missouri 1-0 on walk off hit by Brittany Solis in the bottom of the 7th scoring Farrah Sullivan from 2nd base for the win. Shelby Turnier pitching in the same stadium where she won 2 state championships with Palm Beach Gardens pitched a 1 hit shutout carrying no hitter into the 7th inning. Turnier struck out 11 Tigers in the victory.
Memorable week that included wins at South Carolina and wins over No 18 Missouri and Arkansas ended with the Knights knocking off No 13 Minnesota in Clermont to improve to a school record best 8-0 start to the season. Freshman Courtney Rotton hit a pinch hit 3 run HR in the Bottom of the 4th to break the game open as Rotton played her high school softball in Clermont. Shelby Turnier would cap it off with her 2nd consecutive shutout in many days over rank teams that will help lead Turnier to becoming the first ever UCF Softball player to win National Pitcher of the week award. The win would be significant as 2 days later the Knights would be rank in the Top 25 polls for the first time in program history.
A memorable day, On a day that marked the first time South Florida played UCF in Orlando since 2005 was a memorable day on and off the field. On the field, Kalyn Cenal became the first UCF Softball player to hit 10 or more homeruns in a season since 2005 in the bottom of the 6th off Eric Nunn to give the Knights a 2-1 win. Following the game, UCF honored Stephanie Best with a ceremony that would have her number 3 that she wored to be showcased in Left Field.
It was a landmark day for the UCF program as the Knights upset No. 11/8 Washington, 1-0 in the opening game of the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. It was the highest rank team UCF have beaten at the time in 4 year history of the program and first marquee win over the then Pac 10 power in Washington in an era where Pac 10 were dominating College Softball. Stephanie Best hit a solo home run in the top of the 6th to break a scoreless tie. Lindsay Enders pitched the shutout with 6 strikeouts. The Huskies were the highest ranked opponent that UCF had beaten in its four-year history at the time.
It was the first time UCF and USF have played in the regular season since 2006. It was the first time UCF-USF ever played as Conference foes in the new American Conference. Both teams split the first two games of the series which set up the rubber match on Sunday which would have Mackenzie Audas vs USA Softball Top 25 Player of the Year finalist Sara Nevins. It would be a rematch between the two pitchers from a 2012 NCAA Tournament Regional when Nevins edged Audas and the Knights 1-0.
Audas who was from the area playing High School Softball at Plant City matched Nevins 0 for 0 threw 6 innings. In the Top of 7th , Following a walk issued to sophomore Kalyn Cenal, Mariah Garcia worked a six pitch at bat, where she fouled five off, before driving a double into the right-center gap. Cenal, a Tampa, native, came all the way around to score from first, providing a big insurance run for the Knights, 2 -0. The Knights would hold off a late USF rally in the bottom of the 7th to win the series.
Not often an exhibition makes a list of top games of anyone list especially if it was a loss. But this wasnt your normal exhibition game. UCF had the honor playing the United States Softball team who was on tour getting ready to compete in the Summer Olympics later that year. Among the pitchers of USA that UCF faced? Jennie Finch, Lisa Fernandez and Monica Abbott. Among the hitters that Allison Kime had to deal with? Caitlan Lowe, Natasha Watley, Jessica Mendoza, Crystal Bustos just to name a few. Still Kime put on a show holding Team USA scoreless thru 5 innings and ended up giving up only 1 run while striking out 6. It was the best performance any college pitcher had against Team USA on the tour until a month later when Virginia Tech’s Angela Tincher no-hit Team USA.
With seven Strkeouts on April 4th in DeLand, Allison Kime set UCF’s career strikeout record breaking the record of Dottie Cupp. Kime would make the night even more memorable pitching her third career no-hitter in the process. Ironically Kime would see one of her major records be broken 8 years later in a game where the UCF pitcher also threw a No-Hitter.
Two of the most significant records in UCF Softball History were broken in the first inning on March 13th against Monmouth. Mackenzie Audas became the all-time Strikeout leader passing Allison Kime with 848 career strikeouts. In the bottom of the first, Kahley Novak’s stole 2nd base to give her sole possession of the UCF career record with 103 steals as a Knight.
Audas went on to break Kime’s record for most appearances later in the night as Audas started in the 10-2 win over Fairfield which was Audas 130th appearance of her career.
Going into the weekend UCF and Houston were at top of the American Conference with UCF coming in ranked 17th in nation with 37-6 overall record.
Audas was coming into weekend tied for most wins in program history with Allison Kime at 71. But Houston was a nemesis to Audas like it was to Kime during her career. But not on this day. Aided by an offense that scored 10 runs in the 3rd inning to break the game open. Audas would turn in a record -breaking performance by tossing her 5th career no hitter which also broke school record that Audas had shared with Kime with 4 no hitters in a 13-0 win in 5 innings over the Cougars. Audas broke Kime’s wins and no hitters record on the same very field that Angel Shamblin broke the Houston Cougars strikeout record and won CUSA championship 8 years earlier and on the same very field where Kime and UCF beat Houston for the first time in program history 7 years to the same month. You can read Audas thoughts on this game and more on Houston-UCF Rivalry Blog Houston-UCF Rivalry Blog.
Allison Kime showed why K in Kime stood for Strikeouts. Kime would strikeout a program record 18 Seminole batters in 12 innings while shutting out the Noles in Tallahassee as the Knights defeated Florida State 1-0. Kime with the shutout extended her shutout streak to 47 innings. The 18 strikeouts is still the school with Shelby Turnier breaking the 7 inning strikeout record with 16 on March 9, 2014 against Bowling Green.
Stephanie Best tied 2 NCAA Records in this game as Best hit 3 Home Runs in her first 3 at bats. She started in the bottom of the 1st with a 3 run home run. In the bottom of the 2nd Best made history hitting 2 Grand Slams in the bottom of the 2nd inning tieing NCAA Record with 2 Grand Slams in 1 inning. Best would also end up with NCAA record with 11 RBI’s in the game as UCF scored 14 runs in the 2nd inning as UCF coasted to 18-2 win. Best’s 3 Home Runs is still the UCF Record for most home runs in a game. This marked the first time, Best mom saw her play at UCF. Best discussed that game among many topics in 2015 Interview with Jeff Sharon and I for SportstalkFlorida.com
UCF hosted 9th rank Houston in showdown of top 2 teams in CUSA. The big question would be could UCF beat Houston, after all the Cougars had won all previous seven meetings coming into the weekend. That would not change in game 1 of series as Shamblin and Houston beat UCF in Game 1 of series. Mother nature suspended Game 2 to following day where UCF jump out early with a 5 run 1st inning which allowed Allison Kime to come in relief but it would be her bat that would make the biggest statement as Kime went 3 for 3 at the plate including a solo homerun off her rival Shamblin in the 3rd inning. The Knights would hold on to knock off Houston 6-4.
In one of the most dramatic exciting games in program history. The Knights fought back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game up at 3 with a 3 run in the Top of the 4th. It may have been more had USF Center Fielder Juli Weber did not rob Jessica Ujvari of extra bases with incredible catch at right center that would end up on ESPN Sports Center Top 10 plays of the day. The Knights were on the brink of defeat in the bottom of the 7th when the Bulls had bases loaded and 0 out. Shelby Turnier in relief of Jamie Ujvari had fallen behind Bulls Hitter Erica Nunn on a 3-1 count. Nunn hit a fly ball to shallow right where Willow Kalinen made the catch made a perfect throw to home plate to throw out Bulls base runner Astin Donovan for the double play and save the game. Turnier would get out of the inning on the following batter with a ground out to send the game to extra innings. Samantha McCloskey would hit a 2 run HR in the Top of the 9th to give the Knights a 5-3 win in front of ESPNU television audience.
In Greatest Regular season pitching performance any Knight has had, Mackenzie Audas put on a show in front of Bright House Sports Network Television audience and a more then capacity crowd at the UCF Softball Complex. Audas just a Freshman at the time shut down the 3rd rank Florida Gators offense striking out 11 and only giving up 2 hits in the first ever regular season win over Florida in Orlando. Farrah Sullivan drove in Natalie Land and Vanessa Perez in the bottom of the first off Hannah Rogers which would be all Audas would need.
In front of a sold out UCF Softball Complex. UCF put on a show in routing Alabama in the first ever top 25 matchup at the UCF Softball Complex.
UCF Clinched 1st ever regular season conference title in program history with a Double-Header sweep of UConn. The Knights had won 2 Conference Tournament titles ( A-Sun 2005, CUSA 2008) prior but this was first time the Knights wrap up a Regular season title in program history.
UCF wrap up another first on April 18. Winning back to back Conference Championships. The Knights never repeated as Conference Tournament Champions. They made sure they werent going to let opportunity of Regular season back to back Champions slip away.