UCF Softball Takes One Win from North Florida in Mid-Week Doubleheader

Stats Stats

Feb. 11, 2009

UCF 2, UNF 1
UCF 5, UNF 7

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - In its first pair of home games of the 2009 season, the UCF (2-4) softball team split a doubleheader with North Florida (2-5) Wednesday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights took the first game from the Ospreys, 2-1, behind a solid pitching performance by junior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.), before faltering in the nightcap, 7-5, despite getting two doubles and a RBI from Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.).

"Overall, I thought that our offense was very solid tonight," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "They never gave up and kept us in the game even in the late innings.

"Hillary had a good performance at the plate and Ashleigh really stepped up and took control of the game on the mound."

In the opening contest, the Knights had four different players post at least one hit, which included a RBI triple from Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) in the third inning. Also posting hits for the home team were Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) and Lindsay Dean (Jacksonville, Fla.), who smacked a RBI single in the second frame.

Cole picked up her first win of the season in the circle for the Black and Gold, allowing only one unearned run on six hits in a complete-game effort.

After North Florida scored in the top of the second, UCF scored its first run, and evened the contest, in the bottom of the frame after freshman Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) drew a walk, advanced on a fielder's choice and was plated on Dean's single.

The Knights then scored the game-winning run in the third on a lead-off walk to Lane and McClain's triple to right centerfield.

In the nightcap, Barrow paced the Knights with a 2-for-2, two-double, one-RBI performance at the plate, while senior Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.) also added two hits, a RBI and scored a run to help her own cause.

Paul started the game on the mound for UCF, giving up two runs on five hits in three innings of work. Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) suffered the loss in game two, allowing four runs, three earned, in 1.1 innings of relief. Cole would come in to finish the game for the Knights, giving up only three hits in 2.2 innings.

UCF started the scoring early after Lane led off the game with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice hit from McClain and scored on an error by the UNF pitcher. Breanne Javier (Castaic, Calif.), who reached first on the error touched home one batter later thanks to a RBI double off the bat of Barrow.

The Ospreys cut the Knights' lead in half in the second inning on two hits, including a double to make the score 2-1 at the end of 1.5 innings, before tying the game in the third with a double and a RBI single.

The fifth inning proved to be detrimental to the Black and Gold, as North Florida tagged four runs on the board after recording five hits, and tacked on another run in the sixth to take a five-run advantage over the Knights.

But, UCF was not about to give up without a fight, posting three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut UNF's lead to only two runs. Javier got the rally started with a single to right field, before a walk issued to Barrow and a single by Perez loaded the bases. A double play by the Ospreys looked to cool the Knights' bats, but back-to-back singles from Paul and Dean, and a throwing error by the UNF catcher, allowed three runs to cross the plate and put them back in the game.

The Knights would retire the Ospreys in order in the top of the seventh, but despite having momentum on their side, they would duplicate their foe's performance in the bottom of the frame to end the game at 7-5.

UCF is back in action beginning Friday when it opens play at the UCF Early Bird Tournament. The Black and Gold open the event against Villanova at 3:30 p.m., before battling UT-Arlington at 5:30 p.m. Play continues for the Knights on Saturday when they take on both George Mason and Tennessee at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.

Season tickets are on sale now for the 2009 softball season, which features 34 home games at the UCF Softball Complex. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.