ELOOnline : Houston vs UCF Softball Rivalry
What does UCF Softball have that UCF Football, Basketball and Baseball do not have? An Intense Conference rival. Football never had a ” rival” in CUSA and now in AAC hopes to have started one with USF. Same goes for Basketball and Baseball. During the CUSA Era and now in the first year of the AAC the only rivalries that UCF established during CUSA and carrying over to AAC were UCF Women Soccer who played against Memphis for many CUSA Championships over the years and UCF Softball versus Houston.
Another chapter in the rivalry between Houston and UCF will be written this weekend with possibly the AAC Regular season title, and NCAA Tournament implications on the line this weekend. Houston and UCF have met 25 times including three times in conference tournaments. Also this wont be the first time the two teams have met with Conference Championships implications or post season implications. Houston-UCF have provided many memorable games with memorable players from both programs and that will be no different this weekend.
March 25, 2006 : Start of a Rivalry : At the start it didn’t look like much of a rivalry as the Cougars swept UCF in Orlando. Houston Ace Angel Shamblin a then sophomore won all 3 games including the 2nd game in relief pitching 3.1 innings in relief as Houston beat the Knights 3-2 in 11 innings. Allison Kime pitched 11 innings in defeat.
“Playing against UCF was always going to be a good series.” said Shamblin who knew Kime as both had the same personal pitching coach in Kacie Clark. “Against Kime You always had to bring your best game and compete hard pitch for pitch… Kime was a competitor, she never backed down…”
April 21, 2007 : Shamblin Takes Kime Deep : The Cougars would sweep UCF in Houston in a big 3 game series in the Knights first ever trip to Houston. The tone was set in Game 1 when Shamblin hit a Homerun off Kime to LF in the 4th inning as the Cougars would dominate the weekend.
May 10, 2007 : First Postseason Meeting : UCF hosted 2007 CUSA Tournament. A double-elimination format at the time. UCF won earlier in the day over Marshall setting up a showdown with regular season champion Houston. With Kime having started the Marshall it meant that then Freshman pitcher Ashleigh Cole would get the ball against the CUSA 2-time pitcher of the year winner Angel Shamblin. The Cougars would edge out the Knights 2-1 on an RBI single by Haley Valis in the 6th inning for the win. Houston would go on to win CUSA Championship over East Carolina as Shamblin went 3-0 in the tournament to win Tournament MVP.
“Winning the CUSA championship at UCF was a memorable one for me, not only was it the first in school history but it was in my home state (Davie, Florida) “. Shamblin said.
April 6, 2008 : Kime Takes Shamblin Deep , Turns Rivalry Around : 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.
“Shamblin was always tough and anytime I was facing her I had to bring my A game if we had even a chance at winning” said Kime of her rival Shamblin who both batted as well as pitched against each other throughout both careers.
May 10, 2008 : CUSA Championship Game : The most anticipated CUSA Championship Game in CUSA Softball history as Houston and UCF met in Houston for the title. Shamblin vs Kime for the last time in both brilliant college career and it would be Kime winning the final chapter of the rivalry with the help of Freshman Tiffany Lane who would go on to win CUSA Tournament MVP with Game winning 2 run homer in the top of 6th as UCF wins the title 4-2.
“Playing Houston was always tough that year and when we beat the in 2008 it was a huge accomplishment for us”. said Kime who beat Houston twice in 2008 season including the championship game in Houston. “We got swept by them I think most series’s and being that we were in the championship game I wanted nothing more than to win! It was my first time ever winning a tournament that big and it would be the second in program history!”
Kime would lead the Knights into the Gainesville regional where the Knights would beat USF 3-2 thanks to Kime’s 2 RBI triple in 6th inning and then a walk off hit win over number 1 rank Florida snapping the Gators 37 straight wins and 41 in a row in Gainesville. Shamblin would lead Houston to regional championship win at home with a 2-1 win over Washington before losing in three games to Lousiana-Lafayette in the Super Regionals.
The 2008 CUSA Championship would not be the only championship Kime would get as she did something Shamblin could not do which is win a Pro Championship as Kime won the NPF Championship in 2009 with Cat Osterman and the Rockford Thunder.
March 21, 2010 : Barrow Walk Off Homer : Both UCF and Houston had to transition from not having best players in program history (Shamblin,Kime) in 2009. Both programs bounced back and pick up the rivalry in 2010 where it left off in 2008. Then senior Hillary Barrow hit one of more memorable regular season home runs in program history with a walk off solo home run to LF in the bottom of the 9th inning with mist rain drops to complete a UCF sweep over Houston the series with a 1-0 win in the finale. Ashleigh Cole outdueled Amanda Crabtree in great pitcher duel in the mist rain. It was the first UCF not only won a series from Houston but also sweeping them. UCF would end up finishing 2nd in CUSA and got to CUSA Championship game in Houston where they would lose to East Carolina. The Knights would get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time as an at-large team.
Check out highlights below of the series sweep including Barrow Homerun starting at the 5 minute and 3 second mark. Also hear from Coach Renee Luers Gillispie at the 12 minute and 38 second mark.
May 8, 2011 : Houston wins 3rd CUSA Title : On senior weekend Houston swept UCF on the final weekend of the regular season to win the CUSA regular season title. Houston would eventually reach the Super Regionals losing at Oklahoma State.
April 29, 2012 : UCF Sweeps Houston on Senior Weekend : UCF swept Houston in big series that help UCF get in to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. Highlights of series include Natalie Land on the first pitch that she saw in Game 1 in the bottom drilled it over the fence in LF to set the tone. Then Freshman Mackenzie Audas 20th win of the season to set the tone in Game 1 and UCF 6-3 win on Senior day to complete the 3 game sweep. UCF would go 27-4 at home and this mark the last home game of the great career of Natalie Land and Vanessa Perez who were part of two UCF NCAA Tournament teams (2010,2012).
May 10, 2012 : Outon Power : Haley Outon 3-run homer in the 3rd inning prove to be to much as Houston would eliminate UCF 6-2 in Quarterfinals of CUSA Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. Watch highlights of the game here. Both Houston and UCF would end up making the NCAA Tournament.
UCF and Houston have moved to a new conference in the AAC but the but the rivalry has not gotten anywhere as they will battle again with lots at stake this weekend in Orlando with more memories to be made to be added to the this rivalry for years to come. Saturday’s games starts at 1pm with game 2 after conclusion of Game 1. Game 3 is on Sunday at Noon. Check out UCFKnights.com all weekend for broadcast coverage and details on series as many former Knights players will be in attendance on alumni weekend.
|4/21/2007||at Houston||L||0-6||Houston, Texas|
|4/21/2007||at Houston||L||0-7||Houston, Texas|
|4/22/2007||at Houston||L||0-7||Houston, Texas|
|*||5/10/2007||vs Houston||L||1-2||Orlando, Fla.|
|4/5/2008||#9 HOUSTON||L||1-5||-||Orlando, Fla.|
|4/5/2008||#9 HOUSTON||W||6-4||Orlando, Fla.|
|*||5/10/2008||at Houston||W||4-2||Houston, Texas|
|4/19/2009||at Houston||L||4-6||-||Houston, Texas|
|4/19/2009||at Houston||W||3-1||Houston, Texas|
|5/7/2011||at Houston||L||0-2||-||Houston, Texas|
|5/7/2011||at Houston||L||0-4||Houston, Texas|
|5/8/2011||at Houston||L||0-7||Houston, Texas|
|3/16/2013||at Houston||W||4-3||-||Houston, Texas|
|3/16/2013||at Houston||L||0-4||Houston, Texas|
|3/17/2013||at Houston||L||1-2||Houston, Texas|
Special Thanks to Allison Kime, and Angel Shamblin for contributing to this story. Thanks to UCFSports.com UCFKnights.com and UHCougars.com with photos and videos courtesy of them.
Eric Lopez host ELOOnline Podcast which airs on Sportstalkflorida.com. Eric Lopez also host 1080am Insiders Show that airs Sundays from 10-11am eastern on Sportstalk 1080 the team in Orlando. Lopez also fills in on Tuck and O’Neill on Sportstalk 1080 the Team Orlando.