Feb. 20, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) posted three hits, a double and scored two runs to lead the UCF (6-6) softball team to a 5-3 victory over visiting Portland State (5-6) Friday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The game was the first for the Knights in the UCF Comfort Suites Invitational, with their nightcap against Illinois-Chicago scheduled for later tonight at 6:30 p.m.
The three-hit performance for McClain was her second in as many games, as the sophomore also had three hits in UCF's road-game at Jacksonville on Wednesday.
Junior Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) also had a productive day at the plate for the Knights, going 2-for-2 with a RBI, a run scored and a walk. Breanne Javier (Castaic, Calif.) recorded UCF's final RBI with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
The win in the circle was awarded to the Knights' starter Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.). The hurler allowed only one earned run on five hits in a complete-game performance, while striking out four batters. The victory improved Cole's record to 4-2 on the season.
McClain opened the game with her third-straight extra-base hit, a double to left centerfield, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.). Javier knocked McClain in for the first score of the game with a booming sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to put the Knights ahead, 1-0, at the end of the first inning.
Four additional runs crossed the plate for the Black and Gold in the second frame thanks in large part to back-to-back RBI singles from McClain and Tyler. The scoring began after Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.) reached base on a walk. Cole laid down a bunt to sacrifice her to second, but a throwing error by the Vikings third baseman put runners on second and third for the home team. Tyler singled up the middle to bring in Paul from third, before McClain followed up with a RBI single of her own to the same spot to bring around Cole. Another throwing error by Portland State's defense allowed Tyler to score and moved McClain to third, before a wild pitch from the Viking's relief pitcher put the Knights up by five runs at the conclusion of two innings.
Portland State cut into UCF's lead in the top of the fourth on a pair of miscues from the Knights. After the score, the Vikings would load the bases with zero outs, but the Black and Gold managed to get out of the jam with only one more run touching home courtesy of a double play by UCF's defense. The Knights still led 5-2 following the half-inning.
The Vikings continued to chip away at UCF's lead with a run in the sixth inning, but Cole and the Knights' defense held off the rally to record their sixth win of 2009.
The Knights close out the night with a 6:30 p.m. match-up with Illinois-Chicago. On Saturday, the Black and Gold will battle both Boston College and Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 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.