Feb. 13, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team posted a split on the opening day of the UCF Early Bird Tournament Friday at the UCF Softball Complex, falling to Villanova, 5-3, before bouncing back to take a 5-1 decision from UT-Arlington in the nightcap.
Junior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) picked up her second win of the season in the circle for the Black and Gold against the Mavericks, allowing only one run on three hits in a complete-game effort.
At the plate, Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) impressed again for the Knights, posting her second 2-for-2 outing in as many contests, with a double, a monstrous home run, two runs scored and a RBI. In UCF's past three contests Barrow has been on fire, batting .556 (5-for-9) with a home run, three doubles and a 1.222 slugging percentage.
Also coming up big for the Knights at the plate was Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.). The shortstop had two hits in the contest, including a triple, and scored a run, while freshman Tenisha Dixon (New Port Richey, Fla.) drew two walks and scored a run for the home team.
The Knights and the Mavericks struggled to put runs on the board through the first three innings of the contest, before the Black and Gold finally put two runs across in the fourth frame, taking a 2-0 advantage. Breanne Javier (Castaic, Calif.) led off the inning with a single, before Barrow belted a double over the left fielder's head to put runners at second and third with no outs. Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) drove in the first run with a RBI single through the right side. Lindsay Dean (Jacksonville, Fla.) drove in the second run with a grounder to the shortstop.
Lane tacked on another run for UCF in the fifth inning after blasting a triple to left centerfield and scoring on a throwing error by the shortstop, before Barrow added the Knights' fourth run of the game with a solo home run over the left-field fence. The dinger was the second of the year for the third baseman.
Dixon gave the Black and Gold a five-run advantage in the sixth, reaching first on a walk, stealing second and taking third on a throwing error. She would eventually score on a wild pitch to the backstop.
Cole held UT-Arlington to only one hit through the first six innings, before the Mavericks got her for two hits in the seventh to erase the shutout. But, one run was not going to do it as the Knights took the win, 5-1.
In the opening contest versus Villanova, the Knights struggled defensively, posting a season-high four errors in the seven-inning affair which accounted for three of the Wildcats' five runs.
Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) suffered the loss in the contest for UCF, despite not allowing a single earned run in a complete game showing. The junior gave up eight hits and stuck out one for the Knights. The Black and Gold did share the love in the batting order, with seven of the Knights' nine starters posting at least one hit. Lane led all batters with two hits, including a triple, and added a RBI and a run scored. Javier recorded her second double of the year and notched a RBI and a walk, and Barrow and Cole both registered a hit and scored a run for the home team.
Villanova scored a single run in both the second and fourth innings, before the Black and Gold answered back with a run in the bottom half of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Land.
But three errors in the fifth inning and one in the sixth proved costly for the Knights, as three more runs crossed the plate for Villanova to extend their lead to four, 5-1.
UCF put together a late rally in the seventh inning to pull within as many as two runs, but could not overcome its deficit. In the inning, Lane opened the inning with a single and advanced to third on two-consecutive ground outs. Lane plated Cole with her first triple of the night and later scored on a RBI double off the bat of Javier.
Play continues for the Knights in the Early Bird Tournament on Saturday when they take on both George Mason and No. 11 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.