South Florida 5, UCF 4

May 21, 2005

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (May 21, 2005) After USF took a 4-1 lead and let UCF tie it up in the top of the seventh, Samantha Ray hit the game-winning RBI double to give the Bulls the 5-4 win, advancing them to the championship game against Bethune-Cookman tomorrow at 1 p.m.

USF opened up the scoring first, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Krista Holle led off the inning with a double down the left-field line. After advancing to third on a wild pitch by Kelly McIntyre, Holle scored on a passed ball to give the Bulls the early lead.

UCF evened up the game when Stephanie Best came up to the plate and hit a first-pitch solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.

In the bottom of the fourth the Bulls answered back, reclaiming the lead, 2-1. After Carmela Liwag opened up with a single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch, a Tiffany Stewart base hit advanced Liwag to third and a sacrifice fly by Krista Holle drove Liwag home.

USF added two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 4-1 lead. With runners at the corners Holle drove in a USF run off a her second sacrifice fly of the game. With a runner still at second base Danielle Urbanik hit an RBI single to give the Bulls a three-run lead.

The Golden Knights tied up the game in the top of the seventh inning, scoring three runs off starter Bree Spence. Crystle Krafft hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence. An RBI double to left center by Kacie Feaster scored UCFs runner from first to tie the game.

In the bottom of the seventh Alycia LePage got hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Christie Chapman. Ray came up and doubled to left center, scoring the winning run, 5-4.

NOTES

-- USF is making its third consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and seventh overall.
-- UCF is making its first NCAA Regional appearance in school history. UCF is 1-2 all-time in NCAA Regional action.
-- USF is 12-4 this season when playing at a neutral site.
-- The Bulls lead the all-time series with the Golden Knights 7-2.
-- This marks the fifth one-run game for USF in its last seven outings. Each of the Bulls four games at the Conference USA Tournament were decided by one run.
-- The Golden Knights drop to 13-10 in one-run games this season.
-- UCFs Stephanie Best, the nations leading home run hitter in 2005, hit her 28th home run of the season.

QUOTES

USF Quotes
Head Coach Ken Eriksen

On Samantha Rays game-winning hit:
Sam has (driven in the game winning run) three times this year and for a slap hitter to be able to drive the gaps in crucial situations is a bonus for us. We are 42-27, I guarantee that weve come back and got the game into the seventh inning at least 20 times. You finally realize that there are two options, you either succeed or you dont. But if you dont swing the bat, there is no chance at all. We took our lumps early in the year by leaving the bat on our shoulder in the seventh inning. The team committed 25 or 30 games into the year to not let that happen again.

On what he said to his team prior to the seventh inning:
I didnt say anything. In the latter part of the year, Im a firm believer in undercoaching. Its one of the reasons weve been so successful is because I take the hands off and let them play. Theres a lot of overcoaching in softball and thats the reason a lot of good teams get down in pressure situations.

Junior Outfielder Samantha Ray
On her game-winning RBI:
It was awesome. I wanted to win so bad and we did, thats all we wanted.

On bouncing back from the loss to Bethune-Cookman:
Its always tough to come back from a loss, but we know that we can get back to the top, so it wasnt that big a deal.

Sophomore Alycia LePage:
I needed to get on base somehow, so I did what I needed to do.

UCF Quotes
Head Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie

All I can say is how proud I am of these seniors. They just fought through a lot of injuries, a lot of tough situations throughout the entire year, and they just kept fighting back. For them go to second round of regionals, and to fight as hard as they did even in that last game, not wanting to give up, it was awesome.

You just knew the girls were ready to break it open. You could feel that even in that last inning they werent ready to give up. They were not ready to quit, they were not ready to stop their careers.

Its going to be tough for the kids next year, these seniors have really taken us a long way.

Senior Shortstop Stephanie Best

On her nation-leading 26th home run of the season:
It felt good just because I knew it was going to help the team.

Senior Second Baseman Crystle Krafft

On her three-run, game-tying home run:
I was so overwhelmed, you know, all the girls meeting me at the plate, I mean, I just bawled, I just cried. It was amazing to have all that love and support behind you and to be a part of that is just a once in a lifetime experience.

-- Courtesy South Florida