On Friday, the No. 15 Knights will have the same team but a different ranking.

After winning the American Athletic Conference Championships with a walk-off home run, the Knights earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.

"This is it. This is actually happening. It's everything that you've fought for, everything that they've played so hard for in a very long season," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "We talk all the time about [how] this is where we want to be."

The Knights are no strangers to changes in ranking or scenery in their run this season. They have compiled a 48-7 overall record and are 19-3 on the road.

"It's been a grind, for sure, a lot of hard work and dedication, everybody coming in extra. It's been a great team effort and we're looking for some more wins," junior Samantha McCloskey said. "There's no words to put into how meaningful this is."

After receiving a first-round bye in the AAC Championships, the Knights topped USF 3-1 as junior Jessica Ujvari drove in two runs with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning.

In the championship matchup, the Knights received a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh from McCloskey to overcome Tulsa 1-0.

The team is not fazed by the narrow margin of victory in the two conference matchups and know they have to rely on the same type of game they have played all season.

"[We have to stay] focused on one pitch at a time and one game at a time, not looking too far ahead and enjoying every minute of it," junior Shelby Turnier said. "This was our first goal of the season: to play well the entire season. But to come out with regular season and the tournament [is awesome]."

UCF will face the No. 3 seeded University of South Carolina (37-20) at 4:30 p.m. in the regional opener. The two teams met on Feb. 11, which was UCF's fifth game of the season, and the Knights won 4-1.

No. 1 seed Florida State will face No. 4 seed Dartmouth at 7 p.m. Friday with the winners of each matchup squaring off at noon on Saturday.

The self-proclaimed "Shake and Bake" pitching duo of Turnier and senior Mackenzie Audas have combined for a league-leading 0.86 ERA — the University of Michigan is second with a 1.48 ERA. They have also combined for 505 strikeouts in 366 innings pitched.

Turnier is leading the Division I rankings with a 0.75 ERA and has held her opponents to a .141 batting average. Audas is right behind her teammate as she sits in third overall with a 0.95 ERA and a .140 opposing batting average.

"Our pitchers [are] doing phenomenal … They've just [got] to keep doing work, and I know they will," junior Jessica Ujvari said. "[Our mindset is] take it game-by-game and focus on our one goal, and I think it's going to work out."

The NCAA Tournament consists of 64 teams in 16 Regionals. The winner of each Regional will move on to face the winner of a selected Regional before advancing to the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma from May 28-June 3.

The winner of the Tallahassee Regional will play the winner of the Knoxville Regional.


Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JHeil11 or email him at